5 Months in an Elementary Science Classroom
Penn Alexander Elementary School
Penn Alexander Elementary School is a K-8 public elementary school in West Philadelphia. It serves a diverse set of students in the neighborhood surrounding the school grounds. Penn Alexander is unique in it's close partnership with the University of Pennsylvania which provide the school with resources and support in order to create the best possible learning environment and experiences. The school is fortunate in having at their fingertips new and exciting educational technology such as Smart-boards and student response clickers. They also have ample outdoor space including a recreation field and a school community garden. Science is taught at Penn Alexander as a separate class (a special like art or gym) where the classroom teach can use that time as a preparation period and the students move to a separate science classroom.
This science classroom setting provided me with a vary unique experience. I saw all students first grade through 5th grade for two 45 minute classes per week. Each 45 minute block was jam packed with hand on science and steeped in authentic scientific inquiry. We used many different curriculum from FOSS and STC science kits and also adapted some of our own curriculum. We cover everything from electrical circuits and engineering to ecosystems and sustainability. The schedule below is what our week looks like.
Where is Penn Alexander?
Information provided by the School District of Philadelphia: https://webapps.philasd.org/school_profile/view/1280