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Teague Albenesius

EDU 637

Fred Mangrubang

December 12th, 2017

Science Classroom Observation Report

On December 11th, 2017, Gallaudet Universitys EDU 637, Elementary School Teaching

Methods in Science, class took a field trip to Sidwell Friends Lower School to view a science

lesson taught using the inquiry approach. During this observation, we watched two first grade

classes make candles. This lesson seemed to focus on affective goals and procedural skills.

The teacher began by explaining that today the students would be making candles. The

teacher demonstrated using a wick covered in wax and one that was not covered to show how

candles need wax to burn because the vapors are what burn, not the wick alone. The students

then were each passed out a wick and lined up according to a diagram that was sketched onto a

tarp on the floor. The students then followed the teachers careful instructions of stopping at the

end of the diagram, dipping the candle quickly into cans of wax, and then following the diagram

into their line until it was their turn again. After many rounds of dipping the wax, the teacher

stopped the students who had thick enough candles and asked them to hold the candles until they

dried. When another student in my class asked the students what they had learned, the students

answered with how to make candles.

This teacher demonstrated some very strong classroom management techniques. The

teacher was clearly well-prepared for the class today by how much preparation went in to the
design of the classroom, the diagram on the tarp to direct student traffic, and the well-rehearsed

script used to teach the students. I was especially impressed by how well the teacher responded

to students not following rules. Rather than punish students by sitting them out only, the teacher

first gave students warning about behaviors that they should not display and would explain the

safety reason behind this for most behaviors. If a student did not behave appropriately, most of

the time the teacher told the student to sit out for 30 seconds because of the behavior that they

displayed. I thought this was a very positive approach because it showed that the teacher had

very clear expectations for student behavior. The students knew exactly what was expected of

them, and more importantly, the students knew why. This is incredibly important for science

teaching because of the importance of understanding and demonstrating safe science behaviors

so that all students can learn safely in the classroom.

I do not believe that the lesson today was inquiry approach due to the over-structured

teacher-centered approach. The students themselves explained that they learned how to create

candles because of the lesson, which did not seem to be the goal based on what the teacher had

mentioned at the start of class. While this lesson was incredibly hands-on, I do not think that

students learned what was intended by the teacher. The teacher did mention that the activity was

more focused on assessing the students abilities to follow instruction, but I do not believe that

should be assessed separately from the science lesson itself.

As a result of this observation, I believe I watched a positive classroom management

approach that I can apply to my future classroom. However, I do think that I still need to see a

future demonstration of a true inquiry approach to science that involves asking questions and

student-centered learning.