The school I work at is an AMSTI school. AMSTI stand for Alabama Math & Science Technology Initiative. Teachers have to be trained to teach AMSTI. There are 2 sessions that usually take place a week out of the summer. After the 2 sessions, the teacher will not need to be trained again unless the teacher changes grade levels. The reason I am telling you all this is to give you a little back ground for the training purposes. This past summer I did my second training for third grade AMSTI kits, and it was very engaging and interesting. I look back now, and wished I would have take pictures throughout the trainings.
The first year training (each year training is done in 1 week each) we covered the first 2 kits of the rotation. There are four kits, and they are delivered one per nine weeks throughout the school year. The first kits we went through was the Plant Growth & Development , and Chemical Tests. However, this summers training was on The Human Body and Earth Materials.
The students are to do Interactive notebooks throughout the AMSTI kits while performing each lesson physically. For example, the first kit I receive is Plant Growth and Development. WE are in the last week of the 9 weeks and we are beginning to wrap up the kit, but I will give you a run-down of the lesson.
The students first start the kit by observing a wet lima bean and a dry lima bean. They compare and contrast them in their notebooks. (There is a lot of pre-planning involved for the teacher, and most of the lessons have materials that need to be prepared beforehand. Like, soaking the bean at least 2 days in advance. The lesson then proceeds to planting the brassica seed (which grows really fast). The students take care of the plant while it is set up under fluorescent lights and a watering system by observing the changes in their notebooks each day.
The students really enjoy taking part in the lesson each day. The plant grows from the root, forms a stem, leaves, and then a flowering bud. Once the flowering bud gets there then the students observe dry beans, and make notes of how the bee is important to the flower in the reproduction process. The students make glue sticks to place the bee on the flower (pollinating it). I am telling you this whole process so you can get a visual picture of how a kit works out. The students are to go away from this lesson knowing the life cycle of the plant, and how nature has an important role in it.
The above is just one kit, but my favorite kit is the human body kit. I was trained on it this past summer, and could not get enough. I was so impressed by the lessons in this kit that the day went by so fast! My favorite part was the owl pellet. We were talking about how the human body works, and we went into talking about the owl, and how the owl does not actually have a rectum. the owl breaks down its food and then pukes it back up, eww! Anyway, this is where the blog from “Grooving into Third Grade” caught my interests. This teacher actually documented her training on her blog. I am so jealous! Looking back now, I wished so bad that I would of. You can look at her pictures and her documentation from the link below.
You can read more about AMSTI at the link below.