Kathrin Otrel-Cass, Michael Forret and Merilyn Taylor
A group of Waikato University researchers watched as a Year 6 class experimented with Scratch, a child-oriented programming language. The software is designed for children to explore programming—it is easy to “tinker” with but also allows sophisticated programs to be created. Set the task of creating a maths addition game, the students became absorbed in collaborative and creative problem solving, trying out and sharing ideas and solutions.
This is one teacher’s story of how connecting her science teaching to the cultural background of her Māori students increased their motivation and enthusiasm. By linking a topic on forest ecology with the students’ existing interest in the school’s new tuata (carved ceremonial post), she was able to develop a collaborative inquiry-based project with her students that had them asking “Is it science today?”
When a teacher let her Years 4 and 5 class chose their own science topic to study, they settled on—what else?—farting. This article shows how letting students pursue their own interests led them to real science learning.
When their funds of knowledge and experiences from home and the community are connected to their school learning, students' learning is supported. In this study teachers used "home learning books" to invite contributions from home into science teaching and learning in the classroom. The flow of knowledge between home and school engaged students and whānau and enriched the science learning.