Teaching elementary school science has to be approached in a way that differs from higher education levels of science. Young children are best suited to learn through hands-on experimentation and an integration of other subjects into the science curriculum. Concepts should be broad enough to cover many areas of science and include mathematics whenever possible. The National Science Teachers Association has published a position statement on elementary school science instruction, including many strategies and ideals.
Most Effective Learning Techniques
Involve students in science activities that encourage exploration and questioning. Nurture and develop a child's conceptual framework. This framework is the foundation for students to learn more detailed and specific knowledge. Without a proper conceptual framework, students will have difficulty processing ideas that are foreign to them, as are many science topics. Teach ideas through integrated science topics, rather than specific experiments. For example, integrate botany and plant growing with mathematics by encouraging charting and measurements of the plant growth. Another idea is to integrate artwork through the study of science. Have children create artwork related to science topics, such as water cycles, animals, flowers and other science topics. Encourage detailed artwork by asking students to describe what they are drawing and how those details are important in a scientific role.
Vary teaching methods to keep students interested. Considering mixing up traditional curriculum topics with kid-designed science shows. "Bill Nye the Science Guy," "Beakman's World" and "Slim Goodbody" are examples of television shows that provide a fresh and exciting perspective on science. When possible, talk about discoveries made by scientists with different ethnic and personal backgrounds, including gender. Showing diversity in science may encourage students to work harder if given a feeling that anyone can succeed. Students will value science more, if they feel confident.
Encourage Critical Group Thinking
Assemble classrooms into groups and ask students to work together to solve different scenarios. Provide scenarios and see if groups can figure out what happened and possibly what the next step might be. Encourage problem solving and teamwork in figuring out scenarios. Allow students to become freethinkers without guidance and monitor how things develop. Instead of students clinging to teachers for help, encourage them to rely on one another. This will help breed confidence and independent-thinking capabilities within the students.
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