10 Resources for Effective Elementary Science Instruction

Disclaimer 1: This Top 10 list was created and vetted by a committee of one. It is possible and highly likely that several very deserving resources are not on this list. Please feel free to add some of your favorite elementary science resources in the comments section- actually that’s the whole point.

Disclaimer 2: This is not just a list of Activities that Work. You will find resources to support teacher content knowledge, pedagogy, and assessment in elementary science.

  1. Science for All Americans: My experience is that many elementary school teachers do not feel confident in their science content knowledge. One of the best and most readable resources for general science content knowledge is Science for All Americans. This book relates what all scientifically literate adults should know. I recommend getting the book, however, you can always read it FREE online HERE. Runner UpScience Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy
  2. Science Formative Assessment and Uncovering Student Ideas in Science Vol. 1-4: These resources by Page Keeley will completely change the way you think about student thinking, assessment, and the understanding of science concepts. Science Formative Assessment: 75 Practical Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning– provides a diverse and useful catalog of strategies that can be used in a formative way for not only science but other subjects as well. The Uncovering Student Ideas in Science books each contain 25 formative assessment probes for uncovering student thinking in a variety of core ideas in science. Each probe is followed by teacher pages that describe the scientific answer, common misconceptions, links to standards, and ways to modify instruction.
  3. How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice– This short book is over 10 years old but if you are not familiar with the Three Key Findings from this research then do yourself a favor and check it out by clicking on the link. This book is foundational for a lot of current reform efforts in science.
  4. Ready, Set, Science: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms– This resource, based on the report Taking Science to School, provides a framework of Four Strands of Science Learning. This work was highly influential in the creation of the New Science Standards Framework.
  5. Effective Science Instruction: What Does Research Tell Us? This report describes 5 characteristics of effective science instruction and gives examples/non-examples K-12.
  6. Science Notebooks.org and Science Notebooks: Writing About Inquiry An effective science notebook should be more than a log of endless experiments where kids copy a procedure and collect data in a table. Both of these resources will support a deeper understanding of science notebooking.
  7. Teacher’s Domain and Science Netlinks: I felt like I had to include some science lessons/activities and these are 2 of the best sites I know. Teacher’s Domain requires FREE registration but is well worth the 2 minutes it takes to sign up.
  8. Inquiry Boards. Download an article on Inquiry Boards HERE. Any elementary teacher with trouble understanding/teaching how to plan a controlled investigation should really spend some time with Inquiry Boards. This tool is a powerful and visual way to teach students about variables and the steps of a controlled investigation.
  9. Learner.org: This site has a wealth of video clips of kids and adults struggling to understand science concepts. You will also find FREE professional development resources. I use this resource often in my PD work with elementary teachers.
  10. Science & Children/NSTA: Any elementary teacher of science should be a member of NSTA and sign up for the Science & Children journal. This has been a staple resource for me for over 10 years and I don’t regret a single year. Even if you don’t join- the site features several FREE tools and resources every month.

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