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Gender Differences in Science
I am a preservice teacher that has to give a lesson in a 2nd grade science classroom. Are there any misconceptions that students have that might guide my lesson plan? I want to be able to incorporate science lessons that both boys and girls will be interested and engaged in, so are there any previous lessons you've taught that maybe create a divide among genders in your classroom?
Also, this will be my first time giving a lesson to a group of children. Do you have any suggestions on how to present information and keep the children engaged?
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It must be exciting preparing to teach your first lesson to students! It is scary at first but you become more comfortable and natural with it the more practice you get! I think one great way to engage all the students, both boys and girls, is to make the science/topic meaningful to them. If it is something that does not apply to their lives or matter, it will most likely end in them not being engaged. Today, I saw a water cycle lesson being taught and the students were not that engaged because they did not see how it directly impacted their lives. One of the biggest things to do while teaching a lesson is to make sure it is meaningful because then the students have a reason to care and be interested. Definitely hands-on activities keep them the most engaged and are more fun. Doing lessons with food is always a hit because kids love to play with food but also the topic can be related to something that is in their every day life. I hope this helps and good luck on your teaching! As long as you have fun and teach things that will be meaningful to the students, they will be excited and engaged!
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I would suggest using things that both girls and boys like. You can teach some lessons with things that boys are more interested in, and then use some things girls like in others. To keep children engaged, you can just use things that the kids are interested in. Give them real world connections, and let them be involved in the teaching of it. Make sure they move around and incorporate things that they like to do.
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I am using a Balloon Experiment for static electricity in a second grade class. In my experience you can never go wrong with balloons. Just choose one color of balloons so students will not get mad that they did not get the color they want. I chose green! Hope this helps!
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The 'one color' is definitely the wise voice of experience! :)
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I love NSTA's books on Teaching Science with Picture Books (check out the NSTA store). 2nd graders love to be read to and the book can really help focus your lesson. If you are new to the experience, I would definitely recommend those resources as a jumping off point!
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Hi Mary, Congratulations on being placed in a classroom! I may be able to help you with resources for gender equal science demonstrations to use in the classroom. I am a professor of science methods at Temple University and have been creating a YouTube channel that is home to hundreds of free science demonstrations for young learners. They are all common core aligned, cover a variety of topics, and can easily be recreated in the classroom. Check it out and subscribe as we regularly release new videos!
Dr. George Mehler Ed.D.,
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This must be an exciting time for you and I am sure nerve racking but I feel that you would be great. When it comes to keeping things gender equal pick choose things that equal that don;t necessarily respond to just girls or boys like the color idea. If you come up on an activity that requires the girl or boy choice make sure that part of the activity can have a boy and girl option so that no one feels left out. In order to keep the students engaged don't just have them sitting in their seats and listening to you. Give them an activity that goes along with the lesson so that they aren't bored or not paying attention this will give them reason to participate. Also make some lessons as relatable to the kids as possible. When the lessons are relatable the kids are more inclined to participate and encouraged to learn. I hope this helps.
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When I did this project for an elementary class it worked really well. Both genders loved it. I did a project on plant and animal cells and how they are different. I used cookies, icing, Skittles, Tootsie Rolls, Nerds, Sourpatch Straws, and Twizzlers. The cookies were for the nucleus, the icing for the cytoplasm, Skittles for the chloroplast, Tootsie Rolls for the mitochondria, Sourpatch Straws for the Golgi Bodies, and Twizzlers for the cell wall. I made bags, prior to the class, that included all the candies that they needed. I gave each of them two cookies, along with a spoonful of icing. The students then decorated their cookies to display a plant and an animal cell.
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I think the best approach to working with a mixed gender class is to not worry about it appealing to both genders. Your students will be engaged and interested if you make the lesson engaging and interesting. Do a hands-on activity and make the topic relatable. If the students have something to connect to, they will be more interested. If you're really worried about causing a divide, make it gender-neutral as much as possible, such as the suggestion I saw about using all one color like green or a food they all enjoy.
Good luck with your lesson! I hope it goes well.
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