When you picture a scientist,
What kind of person do you see?
An old man wearing a lab coat?
Or someone that looks like you and me?Not All Scientists Wear Lab Coats by Clare Fearon
To facilitate science/health activities, you do not need to be an expert – these lessons are designed to engage children in discovery about their bodies and their environment, inspire curiosity about science and health, and spark questions that lead to further engagement.
Meet Drew and Nia!
Even though they live in different parts of the country, they text and video chat almost every day, often about their favorite subject: how the human body works. With the help of their sock animal pals (Drew’s possum and Nia’s turtle), they explore the inner workings of the human body, germs, mucus, and more!
The Drew and Nia videos can be used during lessons to help explore science and health topics related to the activity. Drew and Nia speak both English and Spanish.
Lesson Plan Breakdown
Lessons can be run as “drop-in” (non-sequential), events-based (multiple activities at different stations that revolve around a common theme), or as a full unit (sequential).
Each unit begins with a succinct overview of the health information the lessons are. Facilitators should become familiar with the health topic. Additional books and videos outside of our list can be used to gather more information.
Each lesson is organized based on the following format:
General Summary – The first section is comprised of three parts: Summary, Objectives, and Key Vocabulary. These are included to help the facilitator become oriented with the health topic and the goals for the lesson.
Career Connection – Various health or STEM related hospital-based careers are included as examples of possible pathways for students. Use a Connect It! activity to help learners connect the information to their lived experiences. For further investigation into diverse career pathways, please visit https://explorehealthcareers.org/.
Materials – Each lesson lists required, recommended, and optional materials. We have tried to identify alternative materials should facilitators have difficulty sourcing those items; further, if you think of a material that would work even better for your learners, you should make additional substitutions.
Activity Preparation – Some lessons may require or recommend that you complete steps prior to implementation. This section will include all necessary preparation; tasks do not need to be completed chronologically.
Activity – To implement the lesson and activity, follow the steps provided in the “Activity” section of the lesson plan; the steps are written in chronological order.
Connect to Prior Knowledge: Neuroscience research has demonstrated that kids learn best by building on what they already know. The “Activity” section will always begin by suggesting you engage participants in discussing prior knowledge by asking a question. After asking this question, it is recommended to discuss the responses and then provide an explanation to the question and any other questions that arise during the discussion. After engaging in prior knowledge, a step-by-step guide to the activity is provided.
Where’s the STEM?: Each lesson has been linked to one of the following STEM topic threads: biology, engineering, environment, math/chemistry, and robotics/coding. Look for this part of the activity that enhances the STEM learning and links to Next Generation Science Standards or Common Core State Standards.
Kid Friendly Language – To ensure all learners participating understand what is being taught, this section provides kid friendly vocabulary and language and definitions to assist facilitators throughout the lesson.
Check for Understanding – Upon completion of activities, each lesson includes suggested questions to ask learners to check that they understand the key points.
Extension Activities – At the end of each lesson, there are possible activities that can be used to extend a participant’s learning. All extension activities are optional. Though we recommend that participants complete the extension activities in order to solidify the learned concepts and further their STEM identity.
Connect It! Activities
Use one of the following activities to help students connect their learning of different career pathways to their lived experiences. Or, offer learners 2-3 of the following options and let them choose.
Quick Connect It! Activities (10-15 minutes):
- Write and illustrate a comic book strip about a child who visits that professional. Think about what symptoms the child might be having
- Create a brochure or poster for the professional’s waiting room or office that helps patients understand his or her job.
- Draw a picture of the professional at work. Think about what you might be able to find at their office.
- Make a KWL Chart – draw three columns on a piece of paper and label them “know,” “wonder,” and “learned.” Students should add to K & W prior to the lessons with words, drawings, or other. At the end of the lesson, add to the L section!
- Write down five words that come to mind when you think about the job or profession. Then compare lists with other learners and circle words that other learners have. Add common words to a vocabulary wall.
Longer Connect It! Activities (>15 minutes)
- Record a podcast about the profession/job/career
- Research what tools that professional might use and build a model
Supporting Inquiry During Activities
Inquiry “highlights a desire to find out, to determine, and to continue exploring a topic to arrive at a resolution that sufficiently quenches the student’s thirst for understanding.”6 Structures and Supports for the Inquiry Based Classroom, Discovery Education
Inquiry is about engaging students in problems, projects, and challenges that inspire them to take charge in seeking information. It’s less about finding “the answer” than the process that gets them there. Some language that supports inquiry processes is:
- What do you wonder?
- What would happen if…?
- Is it possible if….?
- Why do you think…?
- What does this remind you of?
Modeling Curiosity During Uncertainty
Don’t know the answer to a question a student asks? No worries! Acknowledge that you’re not sure and model curiosity and the steps to finding an answer.
Try saying: “That’s an excellent question, let’s try to find the answer together!” Then, work together to find the answer using technology or books in the library
Encourage learners to explore books on the subject, find and watch videos together, and browse various websites.
Encourage further discussion and learning at home by sending a family letter. Be sure to edit the document below to include the topics you are working on.
For OST programs that see students at structured intervals, the recommended pacing calendar is as follows:
|Day||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Time||30 mins||30 mins||30 mins|
|Topic||Career exploration||Hands-on activity||Extension & STEM exploration|
|Suggested Activities||Use the included “What Do I Do All Day” paragraph to lead a discussion about various healthcare careers. Complete a “Connect It” activity. Invite a guest speaker to present to students on the topic.||Follow the instructions for the hands-on activity.||Follow the instructions for the extension activity and/or investigate other follow-up activity related to the STEM topic.|