Tips for Science Teachers
Science teachers must cover a lot of material over the course of the school year. In order to help your students retain the information you are teaching, make every effort to involve them in hands-on learning activities and give your students plenty of opportunities to explore their own interests within the topics you are presenting. In addition, the following 9 tips for science teachers will help you bring your subject matter to life and engage your students in active learning:
1. Allow Your Students to Experience Learning First-Hand
Whenever possible, allow your students to conduct science experiments themselves, instead of merely watching you conduct one experiment in front of the class.
2. Don't Be Afraid to Get Messy
Science experiments can be messy and chaotic, but don't let that stop you! Recognize that learning within a science lab won't always be neat and tidy. Redefine your expectations of success to focus more on what your students get out of each activity than what it looks like on the surface.
3. Use Field Trips to Complement What You Are Teaching
Is there a nature center or museum within driving distance where you could take your students on a field trip? Look for ways to reinforce classroom learning through outside experiences.
4. Think Outside the School Building, Too
In addition, look for opportunities to conduct labs right on the school property. For example, you might be able to take your class on a nature hike outside, look for various types of leaves, or examine clouds right outside your own school.
5. Encourage Exploration of Your Students' Interests
Of course you won't be able to cover every aspect of science in detail within one year. One way to encourage further exploration is to assign extension activities and projects that will allow your students to identify and pursue those areas of science that most interest them.
6. Use Technology to Your Advantage
In addition, make use of the Internet in your classroom by allowing your students to conduct research and share theories and lab results online.
7. Partner with Another School
Another way to use technology is to partner with another school in your area, state, or the nation, that is using the same science curriculum. Wouldn't your students be interested to know how their lab results compared to the results of another class, school, or community? Providing the opportunity to share their results legitimizes them and is yet another way to engage your students in the material.
8. Require Your Students to Keep Lab Journals
Whenever you conduct experiments in class, require your students to write down their ideas before, during, and after the lab. Even young students can form hypotheses in this way, and maintaining a lab journal will help your students retain what they are learning from each experiment.
9. Teach Your Students to Be Green
Taking care of our environment is the responsibility of every individual on our planet. As a science teacher, you can play a vital role in fostering an appreciation for the world around us in the students who pass through your doors each year.
Finally, science teachers have the opportunity, and the privilege, of igniting their students' passion for the world around them, and equipping them to live lives of curiosity and wonder.