Did you ever read Hegel? (quite the challenge to attempt) One of his ideas was that "God" was the sum of all human knowledge...and God was growing. Maybe I am well and truly a Goddess by this view of things---because I keep acquiring information and my job is ever growing.
I have dipped my toes in the water of elementary science. So far, I'm just working with teachers at 3 (out of 14) elementaries. Each time I work with one staff member, I get called to come back and talk to more teachers. I don't mind taking my message to the masses. I'm glad people are hungry for delivering better science instruction...but some of this makes my head hurt.
Earlier this week, a teacher called and asked if I would work with her on developing a couple of inquiry lessons with the science kit she's starting with her 5th graders: Mixtures and Solutions. I grabbed the guide for this kit and thought it would be a simple matter to pick out some ideas to build on for the inquiry pieces.
I realized a few things as I did a quick overview of the kit. First of all, the concepts it targets are really designed for Grades 9 and 10---at least according to our standards. This is not to say that 5th graders couldn't do the activities in the kit, but there won't be any deep meaning developed to go along with the activities. At this point, kids haven't even been exposed to particles, much less atoms. Derived units (like density) are a middle school concept. Are they ready to take on saturation and concentration? How do kids do inquiry when they haven't sufficient background knowledge to start from---and there won't be something at the end to tie to their new learning?
Once I had my little fit about this, I realized it wouldn't do me any good. We might be able to address this problem in the future, but the teacher needs help now. So I managed to find a few things in the directions which would lend themselves to inquiry. It will really be process for its own sake. This isn't the best sort of solution, but it's a start.
This is just one kit. I haven't even looked much at the others. There are more than 20. From what I understand, most of them are really well designed. Many fit well with our state standards. I know that I will need to look more at this in the future...and that it will likely lead to a lot more questions and a lot more work.
Good thing this goddess has quite the appetite.