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Smart Ways to Use the SMART Board in Science Lessons

By Lila S. Kallstrom

SMART Board technology can be used to make exciting science lessons. This article describes games, pictures and multimedia tools to use the interactive SMART Board in elementary science lessons. These activities and resources are fun and easy to use.

A New Tool for Today's Classrooms

SMART Boards can be used in the classroom with your science lessons or for many interactive activities. The tools, pictures and multimedia Daily Thermometer resources can be incorporated into simple and basic lessons. The Online educator resources are also useful for demonstrations, lessons, and experiments that are easily performed. The activities are fun and motivating to use in science.

1. Using the Writing Tools

Using the colored writing pens, have students list one way to conserve energy daily. This can be kept in a table from the notebook pages. They can draw or insert a clip art of an energy-saving lightbulb for every new idea. If doing this daily, the teacher should remember to turn the power off of the SMART Board and computer when not using it, everyday.

Daily temperatures could be colored in on a thermometer. Keep a colored bar graph of the amount of recycled juice boxes and bottles found in the recycle bin daily. A student could color in a bar graph using the light pens, or use the fill color for the rectangle shape from the toolbar. Stars or happy faces could be placed on a line graph or tally chart.

Science terms and definitions could be typed onto the whiteboard. The student could use the drawing tools to draw a line matching the definitions. Definitions for science terms could be checked using a link to an online encyclopedia such as Wikipedia. A science principle or fact could be listed daily and students could circle true of false on the whiteboard. A table of the students' names could be used to keep track of students' names and their answers. Each student could take turns coming to the whiteboard to record their answer.

2. Using the Pictures and BackgroundsRecycling graphed 

A picture of an invention could be inserted on the notebook pages daily. The student could then match to a picture of the scientist who invented it. Science diagrams of a cell or a plant could be put on a background and students could drag the correct labels to it or write in their own labels.

Sorting or categorizing in science can be done easily with the large shapes and movable pictures. Use the shapes on the interactive whiteboard to draw 2 large rectangles for comparing 2 properties together. This can be used in science, math or any area. For example in one rectangle, place the category plants, and in the other animals. Have students move the proper pictures into the categories. Call students up one at a time to sort an item into the correct box or have all of the students line up in front of the board, sort one item, then move to the end of the line.

You can use this idea to teach about many science properties such as: magnetic and non-magnetic properties, solutions and mixtures, physical and chemical changes, rocks and minerals, endangered and non-endangered species, or predators and prey.

You can find additional ideas for using SMART boards at SmartExchange.

3. Using the Multimedia and Online Resources

Use the clock as a timer to time science experiments. The interactive thermometers help students to record temperature changes. They can be used to read and record temperature on the thermometer, and convert temperatures between Celcius and Fahrenheit. They move easily up and down. In the educator resources folder, there are prepared science lessons using these thermometers.

There are short videos in the educator resources pages which are captivating to students. The single-celled amoeba video moves in only a few seconds, yet shows what a student would see under a microscope. There is a circulation interactive presentation where a student can place the heart and circulatory system together in a body to help pump blood. It is like the board game, Operation. They are simple and effective to explain cells, systems and organisms.

At Scholastic.com, the page for Teaching With Interactive Whiteboards takes you to ideas and videos of SMART boards in use. There is also a link for teachers who do not have SMART boards so they can improvise with good old-fashioned projectors.

If you would like premade 3 minute lessons followed up by optional questions that check for comprehension, an excellent site is BrainPop. The site requires a license to use. In the science section there are 13 sections to choose lessons from such as: cellular life and genetics, earth system, energy, matter and chemistry, diversity of life and our fragile environment. There are quizzes, do-it-yourself experiments, comics, videos and lessons for grades 3-12 that follow state curriculum standards.

BrainPOP Educators, a teachers blog for educators supports their teacher community online with free lesson plans, video tutorials, shared best practices, professional development and presentation tools. Click here for the Educators Community.

Most of the diagrams, videos and multimedia presentations in science are found in online resources. Teachers and students will find science activities to be easy to demonstrate and perform without long preparations. Science is made fun using the SMARTboard technology.

Photo credits: Lila Kallstrom