The “Phenomena” of Science

Jean-Paul Rimlinger, Science Department Chair, 4-6 Grade Science Teacher
 A fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.
"glaciers are unique and interesting natural phenomena"

Harbor Day School is continually implementing and teaching California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These standards were created from brain-based research and encourage the student to think of science as a process rather than a set of discrete facts. The NGSS emphasizes hands-on experimentation based on the principle that students need to interact with science in order to understand science. The NGSS anchor lessons through the use of “phenomena'' as a means to allow students to find an explanation for observable events that they already experience in their daily lives. This focus shifts the learning from learning about a topic to figuring out how and why or how something happens. 

Harbor Day’s science educators, Mrs. Ellis (grades 7-8), Mr. Rimlinger (grades 4-6), and Mrs. Hogsett (grades K-3), meet regularly throughout the academic year. This is to ensure the successful implementation of California’s NGSS with an engaging and coherent curriculum for the kindergarten through eighth grade students of Harbor Day.

This year, we welcome Mrs. Hogsett to the science department. She replaces Mrs. Huff, who retired after 18 years as Harbor Day’s kindergarten through third grade science teacher. Mrs. Hogsett is already a familiar face to our Harbor Day community serving as an associate teacher in both kindergarten and third grade.  Mrs. Hogsett received her undergraduate degrees in both Natural Sciences and Liberal Studies from California State University, Long Beach. She received her Elementary Education Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Long Beach. 

In a recent lesson for her second graders, Mr. Hogsett covered the topics of how wind and water change the shape of the land, how patterns in the natural world can be observed, and that things may change slowly or rapidly. Her students had previously learned about how the Earth’s surface can be affected by weather phenomena such as wind, rain, ice, and extreme temperatures. Mrs. Hogsett then showed the class a photo of a river canyon. This is something that students may have seen while traveling with family, or recognize from their own local geography. She then asked them, “What is strong enough to make a canyon?” She follows up with questions such as, “How do you think this canyon was formed?” and “What do you notice in this picture?”. The class was then given the opportunity to explore the cause-effect relationship between weathering and erosion. Mrs. Hogsett demonstrated to the class a “Cornmeal Canyon.” Four “rainstorms” of various intensities fell on the canyon, and students drew pictures of their observations in their science notebooks. At the conclusion of this demonstration, the students were able to make a claim, based on their own observations. Second grade student Benton Smith explained, “Look, look, the water is making a canyon, this is so cool!” 
Mrs. Hogsett next elaborated and evaluated her student’s understanding of the lesson by asking them to imagine if a large dump truck placed a large mound of dirt in a park. She asked, “Will the dirt stay on the mound forever? Why or why not?”  Through classroom discussion, her students were able to respond and conclude that it depends on how much rain or wind, and that it could happen quickly or slowly. 
Harbor Day is committed to providing its students access to an engaging science education that provides them the skills and knowledge to be well-informed citizens, to be prepared for high school, college, and career, and to understand the endeavor of science. Mrs. Hogsett’s students are excited to participate in many more “phenomenal” science lessons for many years to come!

Harbor Day School

3443 Pacific View Drive
Corona del Mar, CA 92625 Phone<title><script type="mce-text/javascript"> (function(a,e,c,f,g,h,b,d){var k={ak:"984895077",cl:"EfBCCP-Fv3UQ5ZzR1QM"};a[c]=a[c]||function(){(a[c].q=a[c].q||[]).push(arguments)};a[g]||(a[g]=k.ak);b=e.createElement(h);b.async=1;b.src="//";d=e.getElementsByTagName(h)[0];d.parentNode.insertBefore(b,d);a[f]=function(b,d,e){a[c](2,b,k,d,null,new Date,e)};a[f]()})(window,document,"_googWcmImpl","_googWcmGet","_googWcmAk","script"); </script><head><body>1-949-640-1410<html></html></body></head><br><br><br>
Harbor Day School is a co-educational private independent K-8 school established in 1952.