Biology in elementary schools

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Biology In Elementary Schools is a Saint Michael's College student project from a course that ran between 2007 and 2010 and fully described in this book chapter. The student-created resources have been preserved here for posterity. Link under 'toolbox' for printer-friendly versions of the exercises. Click on handouts to print full resolution versions. Please see Wikieducator's disclaimer, our safety statement, and the Creative Commons licensing in English and in legalese.

Welcome to Biology_in_elementary_schools, a source of tested, hands-on class room activities.

Wiki reflections
A new idea brewing: Learning_about_insects_in_a_dynamic_way

Tested teaching ideas

Selected wikis for July 2010 demo

New lessons being tried in 2010

All are works in progress and will vary between the initial generic instructional handout to completed lessons with photographs and reflections depending on when you see them.

Tested by Mater Christi grade 1

Tested by Mater Christi grade 2

Tested by Mater Christi School grade 3

Tested by a 3/4 grade from Edmunds Elementary School

Tested by Edmunds Elementary School Grade 2

Tested by Lawrence Barnes School Grade 2

Lessons from 2007 through 2009

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Ideas listed by grade

First grade

Second grade

Third grade

Sixth grade (a single untested idea for now, but likely a good one!)

Project details

The teaching ideas on this page have been found, refined, and developed by students in a college-level course on the teaching of biology at the elementary level. Unless otherwise noted, the lesson plans have been tried at least once by students from our partner schools. Some ideas have also been used by cub scout pack 656.

Partner schools

Students travel to Saint Michael's College from our partner schools or we take science on the road and visit the schools. The science ideas remaining in the Tested teaching ideas after April 2009 will have been tested at least once in grade schools. We are extremely grateful to the teachers and students in our partner schools for the contribution they have made to the success of this project. Our partner schools thus far have been:

Our partner schools are in Burlington Vermont, USA.

Other resources


This wiki has been established to share ideas about teaching biology in elementary schools. The motivation behind the creation of this page is twofold: 1. to provide an outlet for the teaching ideas of a group of college educators participating in a workshop-style course; 2. to provide a space where anyone else interested in this topic can place their ideas.

Contributors page

New ideas are welcome. Please go to the Contributors page to add your page.

Note to teachers and other users of the information

Our intent in establishing this site is that all of the information placed here is free for educational use. You may print, copy, distribute (without charge), and modify the content in any way that suites your educational needs. We encourage you to provide a link back to this site on your printed handouts or if you reproduce this material on a web site. Most importantly we encourage you to make the best educational use of this material possible.

New improved feedback

Please hit the discussion tab above and give us feedback or use the BESfeedback page including E-mail options.

Island of misfit ideas

Not all teaching ideas can be perfect. We have evaluated some ideas dredged up from the bowels of the internet and found them lacking, at least in our hands. Others have not been developed because of time or weather constraints. Rather than deleting these ideas, we have left them in place and explained how and why they failed or were otherwise abandoned. This is probably a departure from the typical, but we are not attempting to be typical. There is value in pointing out flaws, and we hope others can learn from our mistakes. On a positive note, we hope that others can point to modifications that could make these ideas viable and valuable teaching tools.

Ideas in need of further development:


Safety disclaimer

Please keep in mind that the material on this site can be edited by ANYONE. With that in mind, please realize that safety of the teaching ideas cannot be and is not guaranteed by the original authors. Responsibility for classroom safety is a matter for discussion with the administration of your school.