Getting middle school students settled and focused can be challenging. But the first few moments of the class can set the tone for the entire class period. Using quick and engaging warm-up activities is a great way to get your students focused and ready for the lesson ahead. Here are 5 ways to use science warm-ups in the middle school classroom.
Warm-ups help with Classroom Management
One of the first and most basic routines we teach in the middle school classroom is “What to do when you walk in the classroom door.” When you introduce students to science warm-ups early in the school year, they know exactly what to do when they enter your classroom. This eliminates classroom disruptions. It also allows you time to take attendance and take care of any housekeeping you need to do before starting the class.
In my classroom, students get a new warm-up sheet every week. The warm-up sheet explicitly states what students should be working on for that day. Students come in, take out their warm-up sheets, and start the day’s warm-up.
If you prefer not to print warm-ups for your students, you can also use a Smartboard or bulletin board. Post the warm-up question of the day in the same spot each day. Then, students can answer each question in their interactive notebook or even on an index card. The goal is to keep your warm-up routine simple and consistent, so do what works best for your classroom. As long as by the time students are done with their warm-ups, they are settled, focused, and ready to start the class period, it’s a win!
Science Warm-ups give students and chance to explain their answers
When I create warm-up questions for my students, I take time to think about the science concepts I want to review and the best way to assess students’ knowledge of the material. Sometimes I choose to ask true/false or multiple-choice questions. But, instead of just allowing my students to pick an answer (it’s middle school, we all have those students), I use warm-ups to assess WHY they chose their answers. When we review the day’s question, I have a few students share why they chose their answers. Or, if we are running short on time, I collect the warm-up sheets, evaluate why students chose an answer, and address any misconceptions.
Warm-ups help review science concepts
One of my favorite ways to use science warm-ups is as a review. This allows me to refresh students on concepts taught earlier in the year, prepare for an upcoming test or help them prep for standardized testing. I like to choose warm-up questions based on science concepts students routinely struggle with. Then I create warm-up questions to reinforce those concepts. As we review our daily warm-up, I allow a few students to share their answers and the reasoning behind their answers. Then I let the class discuss the concept. This allows the entire class to revisit a concept from earlier in the year without setting aside a class period to review it.
Warm-ups can be used for Informal Assessment
Scientific knowledge builds on itself. Therefore, it’s important to determine if your students truly understood what they have been taught. Warm-ups are the perfect informal assessment tool to help you figure out what your students understand about a concept. As students are answering their warm-up questions, I like to walk around the room and glance at students’ answers. This helps me determine my students’ level of understanding. If I find that students are struggling with the warm-up questions, I can revisit the concept we are learning.
Science Warm-ups are Easy to Grade
Warm-ups are designed to quickly assess your students’ understanding of the science concepts they have been taught. By nature, they are designed to be QUICK and EASY to implement. So naturally, grading them needs to be quick and easy. So, I designed my science warm-ups with a grading section at the bottom. There is a box for each day of the week. Each week I collect the warm-ups and grade the entire week as a whole. Since my students have one warm-up question a day, each question is worth 20 points. This allows me to easily and quickly grade students’ answers.
Warm-ups are the perfect addition to any middle school classroom. They allow you to start the class period off right by making sure your students know exactly what you expect of them. They also allow you to quickly and easily determine your students’ level of understanding and address any misconceptions in the classroom in just a few minutes.
If you haven’t started using warm-ups in your classroom, now’s the perfect opportunity. Grab this full year of Physical Science warm-ups on Teachers Pay Teachers