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HEY 6th grade SCIENCE teachers!

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After 11 years of teaching 4th grade, I am moving next year to a middle school where I will teach 6th grade science. I've always taught science in 4th, so I'm not worried about actually teaching the subject.

I would like some help in deciding how I to manage my class, and establish procedures. I will have students for about 43 minutes, 6 periods per day.

In the past, I've always had students keep a science notebook, to take notes from the overhead, draw diagrams, etc., so I think I will continue that. I dont' let 4th graders take their notebooks home, because they lose them, but I guess in middle school, when they are coming and going all day, they'd have to keep their notebooks with them.

I'm not sure I'll have texts for every student. They might have to get books from a shelf in the room.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!


Senior Member

a couple things i do:

first science assignment: draw a picture of a scientist and write a paragraph about what scientists are like and what they do--then we share and i tell them that their little brothers are scientists when they mix mud pies and try to discover how much dirt vs. water; they are scientists when they try to figure out how many times they can nag mom when she's on the phone; their grandmothers were scientists when they discovered that if you cut cheese with a bit of butter on the knife, the cheese doesn't get crusty and hard....

one of very first science activities: fill out a safe science contract (i do have my students work with some different chemicals and glass...). i model for them to fill in blanks and stress how i won't tolerate messing around and emphasize the NOT GETTING to participate. let me know if you'd like to see a copy of my contract--it's at school or i'd attach it now.

and THEN i have a fun lab RIGHT AWAY...so they know how cool science is!


Senior Member
science class

You're right about them losing their notebooks. Happens in 6th too. What I do is, they have a FOLDER with notes and papers in it. They have to keep all their papers in the folder until the end-of-unit test. I put a folder "table of contents" on the overhead, and we update it every day.

Each student has a 1/2" white presentation binder that becomes their lab notebook. THOSE, they are required to keep in the classroom, and each class has its own plastic crate where lab notebooks are kept. The crates are pushed up against the back wall of the classroom.

I get TONS of ideas from www.middleschoolscience.com. This is a website created by a 6th grade science teacher and she has all of her units, lessons, labs, and procedures there for you to look at, as well as print off. That website has been a lifesaver for me.

I post the daily routine on the board for my kids. So on a typical day when we are doing a lab, the board would say:

1. Write your homework in your agenda.
2. Get your lab notebook from the bin.
3. Take 2 papers from the front of the room.
4. Have last night's homework out to be checked.
5. Update your table of contents and organize your folder.
6. Look up, fold hands and SMILE!

The kids go through all these steps as I go around the room and initial that they've written their HW down in their agenda. This way they always have something to keep them busy for the first 5 minutes and they always have class time to organize their papers in their folder.

I never hand out papers...I have bins on a front table, and the papers that the students need for that day are stacked in the bins. That way, I can tell them to pick up whatever papers they need (step 3 above), instead of me wasting time handing them out.

Another great science site is www.sciencespot.net. One of the best ideas I gleaned there was to have the student's lab partner fill out a "while you were absent" paper if their lab partner is absent, and staple any assignments missed to the paper, then put it in a bin at the front of the room. Saves the teacher TONS of headaches and time. Also, I change the seating chart (and lab partners) on the 1st of every month. The kids really like that.

Good luck with science. You'll love it as you get into it!:D

Lil' Mike

smart 6th Science teacher

I think you should just let them have do all in fun games. Give them the notes to study don't make them find it they hate it and won't learn as much. BE NICE! They'll learn more.


Junior Member
6th Science

Dawn, thanks so much for the advice!! I was just hired as a 6th grade Math/Science Teacher. My previous experience was 3rd grade. I'm so scared. But your advice started me thinking of the procedures that I'll need to come up with. So, thanks soooo much!!
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