I teach 3rd grade at Wexler-Grant Community School. We are a school that begins with Headstart and ends with 8th grade. We have an interesting history. We were two separate K-5 schools at one time, Helene W. Grant and Isadore Wexler. The two schools are in very close proximity to one another. Approximately one mile separated the two schools. All of the schools in New Haven are being rebuilt or remodeled. As schools were being refurbished, a few were combined. With the merging of our two schools, grades 6-8 were added. Our Student Population is approximately 90% African-American and the remaining 10% is made up of White and Hispanic. This shows a change in the community. Five years ago the population of our school was 98% African-American and 2% White and Hispanic. Many of our students in our school have never left the state of Connecticut. Many of them have never been out of New Haven. Teaching in New Haven can certainly be tough because some students seem to come to school for reasons other than learning. You certainly have to have a thick skin to work in our school. You also have to bring enough enthusiasm for yourself as well as the rest of the class.
Science is, and always has been, one of my favorite subjects. It also happens to be my students' favorite subject. Every class I have taught, most, if not all of my students, love science. I'm not sure if they love the experiments or love the fact that the subject generally tends to be very hands-on. In 3rd grade the two major science kits that are done are chemical tests, and plant growth and development. STC® (Science and Technology for Children) kits are the staple of science for the elementary school. However, some kits require a lot of time to set materials up and also to put them away. For this reason, science can be difficult to squeeze in the elementary schedule. Literacy takes up most of our time. We have to squeeze in Mathematics and try to incorporate Social Studies. Science is often neglected and/or not given the proper time that is needed to truly teach all of the many aspects that incorporate science. Many of our kids think that science is just doing "cool experiments." They don't understand why or the procedures that scientists use to lead up to the actual experiment as well as what scientists do after the experiment is complete. Teachers have a lot of work to do to make science more integral. This unit, I believe, will be a step in the right direction. My unit will give an overview of the solar system. We will then learn about Galileo Galilei, one of the first pioneers in astronomy. The unit will then focus on the Earth's Moon as a basis and model to prepare the class for study of Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Titan. All three moons are very different from one another so it will make for a nice contrast. The curriculum unit will take you through each step that will be taught in succession. Let's take a walk through the solar system and get an overview of all of the planets and other various bodies that inhabit our solar system.