So we need to start planning every science lesson with a phenomenon that will engage students and start them on a path of discovery that will (hopefully) end with them understanding the content of the standard for the lesson. I grew up in the 70's and 80's so I was reared on Sesame Street - I have heard the Muppets sing the song about "Phenomena" more times than I want to count. I should have been really chill about the notion of teaching with phenomenon when I first got the news - but I wasn't. I was really kind of freaking out about it on the inside. I just was not feeling comfortable trying to plan my lessons on phenomenon.
I was over thinking the whole thing. At my first training for Georgia Science Ambassadors they started talking about planning based on phenomenon and I really struggled with it. I teach kindergarten and it was surprisingly difficult for me to come up with phenomenon to meet our standards. But - that was because I was trying to find something wondrous and amazing almost beyond belief - something strange and unexpected. I was making it WAY too hard.
It's really just about thinking of anything students can see and observe that pertains to the standard you are trying to teach. Listen to your students during discussions this week and they will likely ask questions that will provide you with phenomenon to use in next week's lessons. If the students are the ones who come up with the phenomenon your lessons will really be more meaningful anyway.
If it helps you to have a concrete definition - here you go. A phenomenon is defined as: an observable fact or event, an object or aspect known through the senses rather than by thought or intuition. Plural = phenomena
Phenomenon are all around you. Why do glasses get water drops on the outside when the drink sits a few minutes? Why do we sometimes see the moon in the daytime? Why do some people have blue eyes and some have brown? Did you know soil comes in different colors? There is a bug on the side of that tree and it seems like it is only a skin! Some leaves turn colors and some stay green all year.
If you want to look up some lists, video clips, images, etc. that have been put together to support teaching with phenomenon you can use the list of resources at the end of this post. I'll keep updating it as I find more. In the meantime - have fun teaching!
Little Science Bird
M Ed. Instructional Design