General Science and Teaching

Getting Students Interested

I am currently a student majoring in early childhood education and one of my main concerns when I become a teacher is how to get students interested in the subject of science. When I was a kid, I did not like science. I was homeschooled so I just learned straight from the textbook so I found it difficult and boring. I've never really seen how science is taught in the classroom. With that said, what advice or ideas do you have to get students interested in science and enjoy it as well? 

Amber Smith
Amber Smith
170 Activity Points

I think the key to engaging students in a science classroom is to let them experience what they are being taught. As a teacher, it is important to give students many reasons as to why science is interesting, important, and worth their time to learn and understand. With that being said, give real life examples and situations that pertain to the particular topic they are learning. Engage the students with hands on activities that will make them want to learn more and question the material. After all, a major aspect of science is learning through investigation. Give useful but fun facts that they will always remember to coincide with some of the dry, less exciting material. Some textbook learning is still a good resource to have, for some students learning abilities flourish with that particular learning tool. Provide as many approaches as possible to ensure all the children have the capability to grasp the content. Integrating technology helps also. Students who are interested in technology (which is the new favorite) will tend to accept the science content if they can use technology while doing so.

Mindy Gonzalez
Mindy Gonzalez
490 Activity Points

Hi Amber, 

I got a little experience last semester teaching science through the 5-E Lesson Plans. I found this lesson plan to be very helpful because it provided me with a process that I went through in each of my lessons. I start out with the engage section. This was basically just getting students engaged in what the lesson was going to be about. You wanted to get them hooked here so that they would want to stay tuned in to the rest of the lesson. The second step is the explore section. This is the fun section where you perform an experiment or a task where students get to explore how something works in science. The next section is explain. This is where you help students make sense of what just happened and how they can apply that to science. The fourth section is elaborate. This is where you give students a little more clarification so that they will be more confident in the conclusion that they got. The last section is evaluate. This is where you evaluate and see if you feel like they understand the task that you were trying to get them to learn with your lesson. Throughout this process, I was able to actually perform a science lesson in a fun way that made students excited again about learning science. 

Catherine Teed
Catherine Teed
270 Activity Points

A key factor in success in science education is making student engagement the top priority. Teachers need to recognize the challenge of ensuring that instruction not only covers the most important science content, but does so in a way that can entice even bored or distracted students. Science must capitalize on students’ early interests and experiences, identify and build on what they know, and provide opportunities to engage in the practices of science and to sustain their interest. In other words, throughout their schooling, students should learn to investigate questions about the world that they come across in daily life, in much the same way that scientists do. If we can find a way to tie in what we are teaching to something they see daily in their life, they will retain the information better and enjoy what they are learning much more. 

Danielle Hamitlon
Danielle Hamitlon
10 Activity Points

Hi Amber,

Just like you one of my main concerns when I become a teacher is how will I get my students to like it. I learned science straight from the textbook and we had a few experiments here and there but science was just never very hands-on when taught to me. I feel like it will be one of my biggest challenges because it never was one of my favorites. Hopefully that can change so that I will be able to provide my students with the best science experience. Good luck to you with this as well. 

Laura Pedraza
Laura Pedraza
935 Activity Points

I think that keeping students interested in lessons is one of the most important aspects of the learning process.  I think that the inductive teaching strategy is a way to have the student generate their own interest by having them brainstorm ideas and characteristics involved with the lesson prior to actually teaching the lesson.  It sort of works as an extension of the engagement process.  If students build inquiry, that almost always remain interested.

Jonty Coco
Jonty Coco
355 Activity Points

I think the key is relating it to events happening in the "real world."

Steve Kirsche
Stephen Kirsche
8985 Activity Points

I think this is a really good question for you to ask, especially because a lot of experienced teachers can still find this difficult. I think that, especially since you're on an Early Childhood track and will be working with younger students, you'll probably have it pretty easy with your students. Young kids really are like sponges and as long as you present the material with hands-on, minds-on, interactive practices, the students will love it. You've got to encourage them from a young age because if they see that you understand how cool and interesting science can be, they'll think science is cool and interesting. The really little ones are already so fascinated with the world that if you present some new science material as the coolest thing you've ever seen, they're going to get really into it. Even if you don't think science is fun, you have to keep a positive attitude about it so that they can learn to love it.

Kathryn Yeager
Kathryn Yeager
2085 Activity Points

Hello,

I am currently a student teacher in a fourth grade classroom, my students only go once a week to science. I just feel that they loose interest in science since they only have it once a week for 30 minutes. How can I make my lessons short but interesting for them?

Yolanda Tzoc
Yolanda Tzoc
940 Activity Points

You may want to try "Life Science in Rhyme..." It's free on amazon kindle right now. Worth a shot.

Sam Ennis
Sam Ennis
90 Activity Points

I see science in a completely different aspect and the only difference I see between us is how we learned the subject. You and many others on here who have no excitement about science say the same thing, I learned straight from the text book. I learned science and most other subjects in a real world setting. I love learning, I enjoy science and I can say that both of these facts are due to the excitement I experienced learning the subject. Having lessons that are exciting and intriguing are crucial in all subjects but I think especially in science. Without the thrill of experiments and the excitement of discovering if your ideas were correct or why they happened to be wrong this time, all you have are boring numbers and statistics, facts and words. We as teachers have to make science an adventure of discovery that captivates the imagination.

Angela West
Angela West
785 Activity Points

I think that when looking at student engagement it is important to keep in mind student interest and student learning profiles. The great thing about science is that it is everywhere around us. If you know that students are particularly interested in animals or space, try tying content to what you know they will like. This will also make the learning meaningful for them. Another piece of advice that I have for you is to really try to incorporate group work and inquiry learning into you lessons. Students will naturally be engaged during inquiry learning and group work is typically a lot less daunting than simply doing science worksheets on your own. I hope this helps!

Jane Brooker
Jane Brooker
1045 Activity Points

I use a lot of hands on experiments, I take my students on field trips, I relate my topics to real life problems, I give them a lot of open-ended projects to keep them interested. I incorporate movies that are related to the lessons and finally I try to stay curious and interested because I feel that the students tend to behave according to how the teacher behaves toward his/her subject.

Sawsan Ismaiel
Sawsan Ismaiel
125 Activity Points

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