Students at General Greene experience Science in a variety of ways.
At General Greene, students have the privilege of coming to the science lab as one of their specials. Similar to art, music, and PE, students visit the lab every week for 40-50 minutes. My teaching style in the lab is hands-on, real-world based, high-interest and it provides kids with a chance to become student leaders. Students engage in experiments, explore the outdoors, utilize technology with virtual field trips, apply their knowledge through STEM learning and play with scientific tools to figure things out. Students in grades 3-5 get to dissect animals in small groups. The third-graders dissect owl pellets, while fourth-graders dissect frogs and fifth-graders dissect the dogfish shark. Our K-2 raise ladybugs, butterflies, mealworms and hatch chicks.
Thanks to the PTA and the many people who had this position before me, we have quite a few resources in our space. Microscopes, dissecting tools, digital scales and beakers are just some of the tools we have available. Our collections are just as extensive. I have my choice of insect or leaf collections, animal bones, rocks, and soil samples. And you can’t forget the large amount of consumables and manipulatives such as trays, yarn, marble runs, and dominoes.
School Grounds Resources
Students and teachers have access to science learning outside as well. We have a fossil pit with marine fossils from the Aurora Phosphate mine. It is a big hit and kids can often be seen at recess trying to find shark teeth.
If you travel further down the playground, you will come across our nature trail. In fifth grade, we use this to teach the kids about ecosystems and plant/animal interdependence. I like to take each grade down at least once during the year to learn about the science found in such a fun space. We may get muddy and a bit wet but that is a part of science.
Beside the nature trail, we have a covered outdoor classroom beside the Nature Trail. It has been used as an outdoor writing area, science observation point or a new space for learning. We are very grateful to our Boy Scout partner who provided the covering for that space. GCS has also provided an outdoor classroom at the front of our building. This space has desks and handicap accessible spaces.
Pond, Greenhouse and Garden
In the middle of our school, we have a pond, greenhouse and multiple raised beds. My students and I had the most fun scooping up water samples from our pond. We were fascinated by the macroinvertebrate diversity and used the microscopes to see single-celled organisms. Some specimens were so cool that they had to be shared with other staff members and school mates.
Our third graders are primarily responsible for the garden, however, everyone lends a hand at different stages. We are so proud of the donations we have made to Greensboro Urban Ministries. We have donated brussel sprouts, kale, mustard greens, collards and have even gotten to sample some produce ourselves. We have two beds that serve a different purpose. One has weather tools to keep track of the weather and the other is a rock garden. Our goal in the future is to have signs to help us learn about each of these resources.
Science and Engineering Fair
Students at General Greene Elementary are expected to participate in a Science Fair project each year. Students in Kindergarten and first grade complete a class project. If they choose, they can do an individual project or compete in the egg drop challenge. Second and third graders learn about the scientific method in the science lab and are strongly encouraged to participate in the egg drop challenge. Fourth and fifth graders are required to do a project at home. You can always contact your child's teacher for ideas or suggestions. Projects are due in December.
In the spring of 2022, we held our first annual STEM Fair. We combined our previous State Fair and Tech Fair to make a more meaningful event.
This awesome day is like a giant field trip but at school. We have members from our community share how science, technology or engineering is used in their career. Students especially love getting to pet the animals. Some past presenters include HAECO Americas, Mad Ones Films, Greensboro Police Department, First Lego League, Mortal Coil Serpentry, Greensboro Cooperative Extension, NC A&T Farms and many others.
Part of the day includes a "playroom" that gives students an opportunity to explore a variety of hands-on technology. Previously there have been stations that showcase virtual reality, Dot and Dash robots, Osmo kits, Hexbugs, 3D printer and Little Bits. This is a fun-filled day in which students can see science, technology, and engineering in action.
We have fun with our cross grade level science themed weeks. Students look forward to Spooky Science, Shark Week, May the 4th along with a few others.
Our school goes on many field trips at each grade level. It is our belief that building their background knowledge helps to bridge the connections to what they are learning in the classrooms. Most, if not all trips are science-focused and some extend past the regular school day. Fourth and fifth graders go on overnight trips, with fourth going to Camp Cheerio in the mountains and fifth going to the coast.
Science Olympiad, is a chance for students who are good at STEM to go deeper into the curriculum than we are able to do in the regular classroom. (STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Students learn, study, experiment, build and test, in preparation for competing against other students just like them. Science Olympiad is amazing because students can shine in elementary, middle and high school!