One of the challenges teachers face every day is engaging students. These children sit at their desks for a majority of their eight-hour school days, trying to actively listen in the face of restlessness and boredom. (Even adults can struggle with concentration in an environment like this.) Science teachers struggle with the added challenge of translating complex subjects into understandable lessons. However, these educators have an advantage: science can be very fun for students, especially when teachers get creative. Those studying in an online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Science Education program can expect coursework that explores the psychology of education and how to maximize student engagement. Here are some tips to help educators just beginning their science-education journeys.
Warm Up Their Minds
Get your students thinking and moving before the lesson begins. For example, you can put something on the board from a previous day's lesson and introduce some errors. Arrange your students into a few groups, have them move into other chairs and see which group can identify all of the errors the quickest. A few bonus points or some candy can serve as a great prize.
Kids of all ages, from kindergarten to high school, can benefit from simply standing up and moving around. Further, light socializing is a wonderful way to clear the mind and get the neurons firing again
Create Friendly Competition
When it comes to activities that can be challenging, like memorizing elements on the periodic table or the parts of a flower, using good, old-fashioned competition in your curriculum design and development can motivate students to really engage the material. Give them a set amount of time to prepare for a topic, then set up your class as a game show. Have students buzz in their answers so they can earn points and receive praise from you and their peers.
Mix It Up
Perhaps the best way to keep students engaged is to change your curriculum design and development. Work in groups one day, then switch to individual projects the next. Find a way to incorporate students’ artistic abilities into a lesson, or incorporate music into a tough topic.
If lessons are unexpected, fun and interesting, not only will students learn the material better, they will also enjoy class–and science–much more.
Successful teachers are creative teachers. They are also the educators that students remember forever. Science teachers have the advantage of fascinating lesson topics, no matter their students’ ages. By changing up how they teach, creating friendly competition and getting students on their feet, teachers can help students learn and even love science.
Learn more about the UT Arlington M.Ed. in Science Education online program.
Teaching with TLC: 10 ways to make physical science FUN! (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2015, from http://www.teachingwithtlc.com/2013/02/10-ways-to-make-physical-science-fun.html
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.