Monday, July 16, 2012

A Passion for Science

By Amy Brown

My store on TpT: Science Stuff   

My blog:  Science Stuff by Amy  

My entire life has revolved around science. At a very early age, I peered into microscopes, collected insects, sprouted seeds, and just about anything else of a scientific nature that interested me. The reason I like science is very simple--my mom was a high school biology teacher. She never demanded that I love science, but,because she loved it so much her enthusiasm for all things biological was highly contagious and set me on fire early in my life.  

I have been doing science experiments for as long as I can remember.  Experiments can be done with little or no scientific equipment. In fact, simplicity is often best in the world of experiments. I can remember being fascinated by jello as a child. I just had to know how that liquid became a solid when it cooled! Soon, I learned "solid" is not exactly correct, but that's a topic for another article. My mom suggested I do experiments with jello to determine the minimum amount of powder required to make it "solid enough" so that it could be lifted with a fork. To this day, I think about jello whenever I teach my students about unsaturated and supersaturated solutions. My desire to learn more scientific information was influenced by that jello experiment. 

At this point, you may be wondering where I am going with these old memories. The answer is very simple and can be summed up best by a quote from Benjamin Franklin:  

                                        Tell me and I forget. 
                                    Teach me and I remember. 
                                      Involve me and I learn.

The quote is especially relevant in teaching science classes. Data, facts, statistics, and incredibly difficult vocabulary words are the norm in science classes. How is a student supposed to absorb and retain all this information? If science classes are setup where students write down facts, memorize them, and regurgitate answers on tests, don't be surprised when students remember none of that information on the end of course tests.  

Involving students in the learning process is easy in science classes since kids love hands-on experiments! During lab time, students get to get up from their desks, play with cool science equipment items, interact with lab partners and, most importantly, satisfy their natural curiosities about how things work. 

A good science experiment "kills many birds with one stone":
  • It reinforces facts and statistics students need to remember.
  • It teaches students that learning can be a fun process.
  • It stretches minds to explore new ideas and endless possibilities.
  • It teaches critical thinking and problem solving.
  • It teaches students to collaborate with other group members.
  • It sparks interests in areas children didn't know they would be interested in.
  • It reinforces motor skills and hand/eye coordination.
  • It instills love of the natural world, which makes kids great decision makers for the future.
Finally, and this may be the most important part of the entire article, the experiment is only effective if the teacher demonstrates passion and excitement for the task. Teachers often ask how I get kids so excited about science class. The answer is simple--I am excited about science! 

Visit the author's blog at Science Stuff by Amy  

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1 comment:

  1. I'm setting up my very first science classroom (K-4) in the fall, and I appreciate all the tips! I'm nervous because I've never taught science before (I'm an English person, but certified to teach anything in elementary), but my main goal is to appear excited about the subject so that maybe my students will be excited, too.

    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Mrs. K. from The Teacher Garden Blog


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