At Terra Verde, our inquiry-based approach to science education focuses on student-constructed learning rather than teacher-transmitted information. Working with volunteer experts in these fields, our students explore “essential questions” in life science, earth science, physical science, biology, physics, and chemistry while gaining real-life experience with questioning, problem-solving, and the scientific method.
Previous scientific explorations include:
- It IS Rocket Science!: Kindergarten and first grade students explored the concept of force by building their own rockets. By making small changes to their rockets, they were able to isolate what affected their rocket’s distance and speed. This unit culminated with a special family night in which we launched huge rockets!
- Terra Verde ROCKS!: Second grade students study rocks and minerals with Terra Verde’s resident geologists (parents of one of our students). This unit culminates with a family camping trip.
- Junior Engineers: OU College of Engineering graduate students spent a semester working with students in first, second, and third grades. After conducting force and motion experiments in our classrooms, we visited the OU Engineering Practice Facility for a hands-on lesson.
- Kids Compost!: With the help of a master composter (TVDS dad), third grade students set up a school-wide composting system that will provide opportunities for ongoing study. During their exploration, students and families visited the Norman Compost Facility.
- Take Me to the Moon!: An OU Engineering professor introduced kindergarten and first grade students to the scientific process by attempting to answer their question, “Does the moon move or stay in the same place in the sky?” Parents and students collected data over a one-month period, then students met in teams to analyze and discuss their data. By the end of this project, students had a concrete understanding of the moon’s phases.
- Solids, Liquids, Gases, Oh My!: Two of our wonderful parents are science professors at OU, and their hands-on, highly interactive science demonstrations are a huge hit at Terra Verde. Students explored solids, liquids, and gases in an explosive classroom experiment, and they had an ear-splitting good time learning about sound!