Baldwin UFSD's Young Scientists Hard at Work "Sungazing"
4th Grade Students Take a “First Look” at the Sun
Using a “hands on” approach to learning, Baldwin Union Free School District’s elementary science program helps students to more easily understand important scientific ideas through the context of literally the world around them. Science topics are integrated into an environmentally rich curriculum designed to take advantage of the district’s schoolyards, gardens and local environmental issues on Long Island. Each grade level focuses on a different area, which for 4th grade, is the sun and energy.
Students in Ms. Meaghan O’Brien and Ms. Jamie Cohen’s classes at Lenox Elementary School had a fun and illuminating experience studying the giant star right within their school yard. The 4th graders created shadows with a partner and "sungazing" using eclipse glasses. The young “scientists” then illustrated in their journal their observations. They also watched a brief video about this important source of energy and added to their science journal what they learned, something that surprised them, as well as any lingering questions.
As a result of this type of instruction, the students develop inquiry and thinking skills as they explore problem and phenomenon based learning, sort and classify, create models, generalize, design experiments, record and interpret data, manipulate materials, measure, observe and predict. In addition, literacy is embedded into the science work through journal entries, as well as guided reading, read alouds and non-fiction science texts. The science curriculum for grades K-5 at Baldwin UFSD results in a much deeper learning experience for students, helping them to better understand and process the coursework as they advance to upper grades.