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Classroom Management: Using Science Starters

Hanna Bugar
Saint Marys University of Minnesota
Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs
EDUW 699 Independent Studies
1 credit
Martha Kronholm, Advisor
Summer 2014










I teach four sections of 6
th
grade Science, with each class lasting approximately 45
minutes. When thinking about how I could better utilize my class time, I realized that the
beginning of class is a time that students are often off task, as they often have nothing to do
while I go around and check homework completion for the previous days assignment. I realized
students would be much more focused and ready for class if they had something to do during the
first few minutes of class. Therefore, I created Science Starters, one for each day of the school
year. Science Starters are quick questions that are projected on the Promethean Board and
completed by students upon entering the classroom. I have found students enjoy them and they
serve a variety of purposes in my classroom.
When students enter the classroom, they are expected to enter quietly and immediately
begin working on the Science Starter for the day, copying the question and then answering it in
their notebooks. If there was homework assigned the previous day, they are also to have that out
so that I can go around and check for completion. Having students work on Science Starters
during this time allows me to complete homework checks while maintaining structured class
time. I have noticed that since implementing Science Starters, there are fewer behavior issues at
the start of class because students are completing the question, rather than just waiting for me to
finish homework checks.
Science Starters incorporate a variety of skills and include different types of formats for
addressing multiple topics. Students are required to analyze, observe, infer, classify, organize,
predict, label, and support ideas with evidence. Incorporating these skills allows students to
become more critical thinkers and problem solvers. Some question formats used include
opinion, short answer, multiple choice, organizing/classifying, matching, and identifying.
Students enjoy the novelty of the formats and topics. Students seem to especially favor the
opinion questions and those that provide opportunities to participate and interact with the
Promethean Board. Starting the class period with a Science Starter each day motivates students
and gets them engaged as soon as the class period begins.
Using Science Starters has provided valuable insight into students understanding of
material and their interests. I often use Science Starters as a formative assessment, as the
questions frequently relate to material recently covered. If students have difficulty with the
concepts in the question, I can address misconceptions and review material before moving on to
the next lesson. Students are encouraged to correct their incorrect answers, and because
questions are often related to current concepts, students are able to use Science Starters to help
study for quizzes and tests. Science Starters have been a great tool to implement in my
classroom.

Hours:
40 hours creating Science Starter questions
10 hours implementing Science Starters