Subbing in a science class can be intimidating for a non-science teacher, but when the students have clear directions and are excited about their work, it’s easy! Today the Chemistry students worked in small groups to write short fictionalized stories about scientists who contributed to the atomic theory.
“Ours is like Lord of the Flies. Dmitri Mendeleev is their leader because he’s the one that designed the periodic table.”
“We’re doing The Bachelor, and the scientists are trying to woo the atom. Democritus is going to win. He’s the one that first developed the atomic theory, so they’re like childhood sweethearts.”
Other stories are told from the viewpoint of the distant future (reflecting on our “primitive” science beliefs), an afterlife where Erwin Schrödinger reflects on meeting his besties, and a thriller where Democritus takes bloody revenge on all the other scientists.
If you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to assume that the excited chatter and laughter are signs that students are off-task. Listen closely though, and you’ll hear conversations about vocabulary, timelines, and justifications for narrative decisions. These students are just enjoying their learning.