Science, much like mathematics, is a polarizing subject among students. Simply put, younger students are bound to either love science and engage with it easily or exhibit a strong degree of reluctance towards it. While this is to be expected, there is a great deal of control held by teachers over how attracted their students are to this subject matter. Through careful instructional strategies and the design of creative curriculum, teachers can ensure that they do everything in their power to make scientific instruction meaningful for students. Whether you’re only recently beginning as an educator or are already a career veteran, you may benefit from taking a look at these few tips:
Encourage and Utilize Inquiry
According to Teaching Today, one of the most valuable tools at the disposal of teachers administering scientific curriculum is inquiry. Educators should promote an inquisitive nature in their students, as this will in turn lead students to understand each lesson with less and less overt guidance. One of the ways to integrate more inquiry into your science lessons is by leading students to use past lessons in the current moment.
Use information from past lessons to promote inquiry in current curriculum.
For example, if you had formerly taught a unit on rainwater or the way in which weather systems move, you might be able to ask a question about it in a lesson on high and low pressure fronts (“Based on what we know about weather systems, which way should these fronts be moving?”). Through utilizing inquiry, you teach your students to do the same thing.
Promote an Understanding of Relevance
One of the biggest hurdles that teachers of any subject will have to continually overcome is their students not seeing the practical application of what they are learning. Without this knowledge, it becomes far easier for students to write off a given subject and treat it as though it has no bearing on their lives. According to the University of Illinois-Chicago in a recent tweet, culturally relevant scientific instruction can be very beneficial to students.
Culturally-relevant science instruction is key for education of urban students http://t.co/NJwQWNsQbo
— UIC College of Ed (@UIC_CollegeofEd) March 25, 2015
With this in mind, you may want to take some time during lesson planning to think of ways in which the subject matter applies to the world outside of school. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be better equipped to explain the relevance of different concepts and topics to your students. They’re far more likely to be interested in basic chemistry, for example, if they understand that it’s key to all of the food they eat, medical care they receive, and more.
Differentiate Your Instruction
According to the Teaching Channel, differentiating your instruction is one of the best ways to keep the interest of your students. This should be somewhat self-explanatory, but coming in and doing the same thing every day is taxing over time and can become tiresome. Try integrating a variety of instructional strategies into your classroom in order to engage your students as fully as possible.