Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Science Talks

 

 

Science Talks are conversations between a teacher or an assistant teacher and students about a particular science concept that students are or will be engaged in. They are an excellent way to help students reflect in inquiry learning. Science Talks are an opportunity for students to be introduced to a science concept, reflect on what they are learning, or to be challenged to explore the science concept even further. These talks can be as formal as a circle time activity or as casual as a one-on-one conversation during choice or center time.

Why are Science Talks Important?

For young children, conversation helps make the thinking process more clear. They use their conversation to articulate ideas and questions and practice their focus. This approach is key to inquiry science learning because it empowers children to process concepts in their own terms, deeply over time.

Other benefits of facilitating Science Talks in your classroom include:

  • Sharing ideas and collaborating together, which encourages scientific activity between classmates

  • Building language capacity and promosting early literacy goals through conversation

  • Validating children in the presence of their peers

  • Reinforcing experiences and solidifying understanding

How are Science Talks Facilitated?

Science Talks can be facilitated in multiple ways:

  • Talks with small groups — these can take place at a center or in front of the whole group

  • Talks with the whole group (the "Science Talk"). Whole group Science Talks are especially useful for helping children learn from each other while focusing on science. This is a great time for the entire class to reflect on their learning, ask questions, and be charged with a challenge

  • Talks featuring materials or documents — Using images, objects or other materials can help make the discussion more concrete for young children and easier for them to connect to the science concept

Check out this printable reference guide for Science Talks.