This is a guest contribution by David A. Buhr from www.smiletutor.sg
Science is an important subject in school.
Like any other profession including medical, engineering or private sector jobs, teaching is a decisive and vital profession.
As many might suggest, it is even more so than the above mentioned professions.
An unknown author once said that teaching is the creator of all other professions.
And for the primary school teachers, the profession bears upon even more than most others.
Because it is not just about grades, writing tests or planning road trips.
Students within the age group of 8-12 start to become comparative and show a keen interest in group activities.
When a child is about 10, he is showing signs of being decisive in his preferences.
Though they feel insecure for speedy bodily shifts, they also feel the importance of being correct in their acts.
They might be fussy, anxious and easily demoralized but jubilant, keen and positive all at the same time.
So it is pretty obvious that when a seat is taken by a child in a primary school, a lot more than just education happens.
Proper primary education paves the way for – in the broadest possible way – bigger and better things for a child for his/her whole adult life.
And primary school usually acts as the teaching center where children learn that there is a whole different world awaiting outside their safe homestead.
Now just take a second to comprehend how important can science-education be in one of the most important phases of a student’s educational lifespan?
In our present day world, we are simply beleaguered by technology and we enjoy the outcome of the results of scientific advancement in every sphere of our lives.
So there is simply no denying that a child needs proper introduction with science which so intricately is going to affect his whole adult life.
But if you are a primary school science teacher, how should you go about a job that is very sensitive as well as fruitful?
There are many schools of thoughts and numerous studies and researches have also been done regarding the approach.
The truth is, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for this and every situation is different and every teacher reacts differently in those situations.
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A general guide line in the broadest sense can be followed, some of which are mentioned below.
Encourage the Students to Ask:
The first thing you should do is to encourage the students asking questions about anything and everything.
Let them realize that they should ask questions like: How did that happen?
Why did that happen? What is going to happen after that?
Asking question is of utmost importance because it initiates critical thinking.
And we all know that critical thinking is at the base of every scientific innovation.
Also this skill accelerates brain maturation of the children
So, if you are a science teacher in a primary school, you should advocate critical thinking by encouraging your students to ask questions, a lot.
Encourage the Parents to Avail Outside Help:
In my classroom, I have always looked for the introverts first.
Because these pupils find it difficult to mingle with fellow students, let alone to ask questions to their teachers; or to anyone for that matter.
They would rather not understand a new idea than to ask about that.
So in my teaching days, I encouraged their parents to have a tuition provider go to their house to help with the studies.
These days, most tuition companies offer quality primary science tuition that you can take advantage of to unlock your child’s hidden potential.
The reason is that, the ever-known and relaxing surrounding of a child’s home can open, even an introvert to a relatively new comer to the idea of learning and asking if he/she doesn’t get the topics.
Make Them Confident By Making Them Participate:
Children at this stage of their lives start interpreting bits and pieces of their surrounding environment as well as the world they live in.
They sometimes also become worried about irrelevant and completely unrelated things.
And unknowingly they seek confidence which might be few and far between if you, as their teacher drive them in the wrong way.
So, whenever you see the opportunity, encourage them in participating experiments.
You can also ask them to set up before you actively join in completing the experiment.
Moreover, create scope to get assistance from them while you teach your younger students.
As, usually this age group is keen and crave involvement, fulfilling their desire will gradually impart confidence in them, which will raise their likings about science.
Enabling Hands On Learning:
Hands on learning is one of the best methods for teaching science.
One reason is that it instills the habit of critical thinking quite literally.
Let’s say you want to introduce air pressure to the students.
You only need a glass of water and a simple card board, and a mop from the janitor’s room nearby, in case the water drops straight onto the floor given that a student holds on the glass upside down too long.
The process itself will make the students awestruck and they will start asking all sorts of questions.
More schools are taking advantage of this method since providing low cost apparatus for enabling easy-to-use and simple scientific experimentation’s won’t put too much pressure on a school’s annual budget.
As a teacher, you should use it more frequently.
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Use Word Games More Often:
Hangmen, Charades, Pursuit of Trivia, Bingo, Dingbats, Pictionary etc are examples of a few wonderful word games which can easily be included at least one class per week.
These games are a great way to introduce scientific terms to elementary guys without putting pressure on them.
The result is that students now can easily remember the otherwise difficult scientific terms, can be fluent in using them in the textbooks and it will be much easier later to explain them thoroughly.
- Tell Stories Instead of Giving Dry Lectures:
Every member of this age group loves to hear stories.
And research also proves that storytelling is one of the effective methods to grab their attention.
While introducing physics, instead of giving wordy definitions you can easily tell stories like the fable of the apple falling on Newton’s head which will surely amuse the kids as well as get their full concentration.
If you use visual clues in your lecture, it can be used very effectively as an accessory to get the message across.
Also students can get involved more easily with the ideas if they have not only something in front of their eyes relating to the idea.
But also they are hearing it being described in such a way that they can easily understand.
Learning New Word in Parts:
This is an interesting method to teach science to elementary students.
Let’s make it clear with an example.
First you explain prefix, suffix and base word to the students and then select a scientific word to further their understanding as well as introducing a new scientific word to the class.
For instance, metamorphosis – meta ( large), morph ( change), osis ( process ); photosynthesis – photo ( light ), synth ( make ), isis ( process ).
Now you might find it easier to explain the whole word because the students can visualize the complete process with the easier meanings.
- Learning While Playing Games:
One thing you can always be sure of is that no child will say no to you if you ask them to join you in playing a game, even in the classroom.
So if you are ready to play with them, be sure that they will learn more about science and terminology if you just lecture them about the topics.
Dragon Box, Code Spells, Mind Snacks, Scribblenauts, Game Star Mechanic, SimCity etc are only a few of the games where children can get the basics about light, sounds, weather, animals, plants, magnets, electricity etc.
There are also games that contain multiple levels and whenever a child passes a level, he can have the basic idea about a new concept.
As a teacher, you should familiarize yourself with the games so that you can actively take part.
Acquiring Abstract Concepts Leaving Concrete Ideas:
The 8-12 year olds are taking steps to think with logic and abstraction is not something that is beyond their comprehension.
In this stage, they start to administer multiple variables, for example, in this period they can think of adding more than one chemical to an experiment and can expect that the result might be very different.
So as a teacher you should act accordingly.
You have to lead them in expanding their thinking space and make them prepared for experiencing the unexpected.
Science Should Start From Home:
As the scientists tell us all the time, science always starts from home.
So you can inspire them to look for science at their home.
You can point out scientific activities like planting a tree.
You can also encourage them to be in a scientific experiment with their parents, like measuring Earth’s circumference with a shadow.
All these experiments are easy to do and the children will enjoy them immensely, since a measure of adventure is associated in every one of them.
So, without ever knowing consciously, a child can easily be hooked into science.
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Make The Students Believe That They Are Scientists:
Personally I always believe that a teacher doesn’t need to be the smartest guys in the classroom, but most definitely he needs to be the guy who can inspire the most.
So I always tried to instill the belief in students that they could be the next Stephen Hawking, and all they needed was just to act like him.
You don’t need any scientific strategy to inspire; you just need to believe your own cause.
The rest will take care of itself.
So, treat your students as they are scientists and let them feel that you believe in them as scientists.
Soon they will also share your belief and be one.
I can only hope that the things I have said so far can be relatable and you can find them useful.
Just remember that you are doing the world a favor that the world cannot live without.
About The Author
David A. Buhr is educator and an expert copywriter at SmileTutor. He has more than fifteen years of experience in tutoring and learning. He loves writing on mathematics, science and physics to help students of all levels. You can connect with him at www.smiletutor.sg.