Teaching science in a new educational setting can be a challenge. Teachers may discover differences in the students’ levels. There may also be a wide range of ability interests among students. Many students may perceive learning science as a difficult content area due to; the requirement for extensive readings, the learning of scientific jargons and concepts.
Many teachers struggle to help students make connections between what they are learning in their science classes and the world around them. As educators, we can overcome these obstacles by integrating some simple tips in a bid to make learning science fun. Below are three research-based strategies that you may find helpful in keeping students engaged and curious about science.
Tip #1- Provide a nurturing learning environment
Teachers should aim to be supportive and patient by constantly using praise and encouragement. Allow students to make mistakes and/or ask questions. This is key to facilitating the learning process. Take time to guide students in a positive direction by modelling the expectations. Praise them with words of kindness to increase confidence in their learning. Research shows that providing a nurturing environment builds teacher-student relationship, which allows students to feel comfortable in the classroom.
Tip #2- “Tag you’re It” Fun with Reading
Learning can be made easier by utilising interesting games. ‘Tag you’re it’ is a great game to use as a class activity. The teacher designates how many sentences the student must read before they randomly choose another student to read. Each student can only be tagged once to read. This is to ensure that all students are given a chance to participate. If students struggle during reading, the class pledges to assist them. This may further encourage class participation.
Tip # 3 “Story –Time”
This activity can be done individually or collaboratively. Students read the science content and summarise it using the format of a story. The story may include characters that are named after the vocabulary words from a science reading passage. These can be as colourful and creative as the student wants it to be. One example is the topic of learning Fuses.
Story example – “Once upon a time in the town of darkness in Sharjah there existed a student named brightly. She was a special fuse because she had the 220 watt power needed to turn on the city generator of the town….”
Students may enjoy this activity because it allows them to be creative. They are able to develop characters and create a visual representation which can aid their understanding of the topic. Students can then share their story with the class.
Tips #4- Learning Vocabulary
Learning science can be fun through games. The game “Shazam” is an excellent tool for learning vocabulary words through repetition and can be tiered for student levels. Prior to playing the game, students should study all related vocabulary words and their meanings. Game day, the teacher decorates a box and places all the vocabulary words plus the “Shazam” cards inside the box. The goal of the game is for students to correctly match as many vocabulary words with its definition before drawing the card marked “Shazam”. When a student answers correctly, they keep the card. However, if a student draws “Shazam” before a winner is determined, all cards are returned to the box and the game starts over.
These are just a few tips which you can use in your science classroom, feel free to modify them to make them more suitable for your students and the topic you are teaching.
By Barika Bettis