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Park Avenue Students Immersed in Inquiry and Investigation

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For curious minds at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School, a new science program is satisfying their thirst for knowledge about the world around them. The Amityville Union Free School District adopted the Amplify Science program for grades K-7 following extensive research.

The program was adopted following the recommendation of a science committee, which consisted of teachers, learning coaches and administrators. They were tasked with finding curriculum resources that are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and included a substantial technology component.

Third grade teacher Georgette Thompson said that Amplify’s curriculum covers a wide range of areas, from biology to meteorology to physics. This year her students have been learning about balancing forces, genetics, the environment and weather. 

“There’s a little bit of everything,” she said. 

Ms. Thompson also noted that the program has many digital resources so students learning in school and at home can be involved in scientific inquiry together. It includes many informational slideshows which she can present on the Smart Board or have students view on their individual Chromebook screens.  

For a recent lesson on inheritance and traits, third graders looked at photos of three different bears. They had to note the similarities and differences of the bears, and write down their findings in their investigation notebooks. Ms. Thompson explained to them how scientists use their senses to make observations. 

Fourth graders in Johanna Feliz’s class recently conducted a hands-on experiment to study simple systems. Each student received a bag of supplies including a small solar panel, two wires and motorized fan. They had to hook up the different components and if they did so correctly, the fan would spin when holding up the solar panel to a light. She said this demonstrated to them how energy is transferred within a system.

Ms. Feliz said that one great components of the science program that all units are based on finding solutions to real-world problems. Before building their simple systems, students learned about blackouts and what have been the causes of actual power failures. 

Another aspect she likes is the integration of scientific vocabulary throughout a unit. Students learn how to think and speak like scientists and engineers. 
Monday, May 17, 2021