Early Childhood

classroom management during experiments

When performing experiments in the classroom, what are some strategies and or methods that will help maintain appropriate classroom behavior? 

Selena Martinez
Selena Martinez
190 Activity Points

I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa. One way that we have talked about or I have observed is to make sure that the expectations are explicitly explained to the children before the beginning of the experiment. With conducting the experiment, if it is something that the students are conducting, it is very important for them to know what they are supposed to find out or what they are going to be looking for or what they are planning on finding out with their experiment. Allowing for the students to have more control of the experiment may have them more interested in conducting the experiment rather than messing around and getting rowdy during the science lesson time. Good Luck! :)

Keela Uhlenkamp
Keela Uhlenkamp
1860 Activity Points

Selena, First and foremost, I believe it is important to establish clear expectations with your students. I feel that you should let them know from the beginning what you are expecting out of your students and if and/or what consequences they will face if they do not meet these expectations. Discussing safety is also very important. Have you completed any experiments with your students yet, and if so, what are some strategies you used that worked for you?

Nicolette Hale
Nicolette Hale
375 Activity Points

Hi Selena. I am currently a student teacher in a second grade classroom. When I was creating my 5E science lesson pla, my professor wanted us to think of all the safety rules that we should go over with the students to make sure no accidents happen. I believe it is very important to let the students know the rules before doing the activity and why we have these rules. To make sure you have “attention grabbers” to get the students attention then yelling over them. To help maintain an appropriate behavior you can make sure you have all the materials you need for the activity/lesson and make sure it’s where it needs to be.

Carolina Olvera
Carolina Olvera
355 Activity Points

Hi Selena! I am currently a student teacher in a math and science classroom, and I get the chance to watch my mentor teacher enforce the most effective classroom management skills I have ever seen. She uses positive reinforcement constantly. The school I am at has a reward system where they give "merits" and "demerits" for behavior. These are backed up by a system where if students accumulate a certain amount of merits, they can choose to spend them in the classroom "store" or save them for a special privilege. My mentor says things out loud to the class like "I appreciate how ___ is following my instructions, I am going to give them a merit." or "These students are showing patience as they wait for the next activity quietly, I will give them a merit." Sometimes it is while some students are off tasks, so they will redirect their actions so that they can also receive merits. If it doesn't help, she will give demerits after fair warning. Another really great technique is giving access to science experiment materials after modeling and giving explicit instructions on what they are expected to do with them. First, tell them what to do, then tell them the voice level you expect them to be at. Showing appreciation for those that followed instructions constantly. I hope this helps! Good luck!

Bianca Balderas
Bianca Balderas
580 Activity Points

Hello, I am student teaching in a second-grade classroom and one things that works great for me is explaining the expectations EVERY time the students will begin an experiment. Even if they have done it 100 times before this helps them refresh their memory and they have set expectations about how they are to treat our materials, what voice level to use, etc. Once the expectations are set the students can begin their experiment. Another strategy I have seen is giving each table a yellow,red, and green cup (stacked). You explain to the students that if they are stuck on any part of the experiment and they have no idea what to do that they are to put the red cup on top. This tells the teacher to go over to help them. If the students place a yellow cup on top it states that they are struggling, but figuring it out, and a green cup means they understand and have no questions. I found that this best works 3-5 grade better than younger ones. This helps from having every student yell across the classroom when they need help.

Gladys Gonzalez
Gladys Gonzalez
460 Activity Points

Gladys, I totally agree with you! Even with 4th and 5th graders, we go over safety procedures every time we do an experiment/lab. We review jobs and expectations for each group. I love the cup strategy!!! I need to borrow that!

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
85619 Activity Points

I am a student teacher as well and agree 100% with you! Never assume your students know what you're expectations are for any activity or experiment. No matter the grade or activity, students need to know what you expect from them at the start.

Kaylee Nungaray
Kaylee Nungaray
3394 Activity Points

Hello, I am a student teacher and I am currently in a second grade class. What I have seen that works is having CHAMPS. This helps them to know what the teacher is expecting from them when doing not only science experiments but all kinds of classroom and school expectations. One of the schools that i observed at was all about CHAMPS and students were expected to follow them at all times and for this school it worked. Also my teacher always explains carefully what she is expecting from each child and gives examples of how each instrument should be handled. They also go over the class rules. For example: Never run in the classroom and always ask for permission to get out of your seats. She makes it clear that if they have a question they are to always raise their hand for assistance. In second grade the students don't really do much experiments most of them are modeled by the teacher and then the students are to record their data. So my teacher always makes sure each child gets the most out of it by making it fun and interactive but also keeping it safe.

Miriam Luna
Miriam Luna
345 Activity Points

Miriam, if you get a chance, observe other teachers and see how they manage their class. We all have different methods and I am thankful you are with someone who has good classroom management. I'd like to suggest you read a post under New Teachers, where a teacher, who teaches 2nd grade, did a weather project with her class. She incorporated cross curricular content and the students had a choice when presenting. I taught 2nd grade for 12 years and that age group is very open and excited to do hands on science. I realize that we have to go slow with them at first and review rules and expectations with very simple, perhaps even recipe-like experiments, but before November, you will have a small crew of super scientists to work with!

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
85619 Activity Points

Miriam, I'm sorry, it is in Elementary Science- Weather Project.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
85619 Activity Points

Hi Selena, It is important to make sure your students know the safety expectations when conducting an experiment. If your school has school-wide rules to follow, you can ask students to tell you what they are before beginning the experiment. As the students are experimenting, never assume the students do not need any help and be consistent in scaffolding throughout the experiment to answer any questions. I am a student teacher and still learning about classroom management. Everyone who commented previously gave great advice which I will be taking into consideration myself.

Nayeli Salas
Nayeli Salas
730 Activity Points

One of the main things I have found is making sure the students know the expectations before starting the experiment! Setting expectations and making the students are aware of possible consequences beforehand is very helpful in keeping them on task during the experiments. Also, constant redirection and scanning the classroom is a great classroom management technique to keep in mind. Another great strategy to implement would be to point out when you see positive behavior!

Aleena Naqvi
Aleena Naqvi
320 Activity Points

When performing experiments in the classroom, what are some strategies and or methods that will help maintain appropriate classroom behavior?

Hi Selena,

One strategy that you can use is to set up the scene for the experiment. If they will be using scientific tools it would be a great way to let them know that those are tools that scientists use. This will make them feel as scientists and they will try to be on their best behavior as scientists stay on task.

Hope this helps!

Brenda Rivera
Brenda Rivera
355 Activity Points

Hi Selena. Recently, I experienced this similar problem when I tried to teach a lesson on sound energy and felt overwhelmed with classroom management. My suggestion is to constantly remind students they are scientist and must respect the tools they are using and remind them of lab safety. I just remind students to stay on task and if they are not respectful then they cannot participate in the fun. It can be tiresome because we just want the experiment and lesson to be fun and successful. Hope it helps.

Anna Snowden
Anna Snowden
220 Activity Points

Hello Selena! Some tips I would say dealing with classroom management during experiments, is first setting expectations. This is always crucial, always set your expectations to your students. Also, constant reminders of what you expect of them is never a bad thing. Children always need to be redirected no matter what age. Another would be knowing your students well, knowing what they can be responsible for. Walk around and monitor your students, and engage in conversation with them. If you know a group of students always needs redirection, stay in close proximity and let them be aware you see them. Finally, knowing good transitions is key if you're doing workstations in your science lesson! Hope this helps and good luck!

Kohleen Mendoza
Kohleen Mendoza
370 Activity Points

Hello, Some of the things I do when we are doing an experiment is tell the students the expectations ahead of time. For example, on one occasion we were working on procedural text and we made lemonade. I was prepared for misbehavior when I passed out the ingredients, therefore I told the students my expectations before I passed out anything. When I passed everything out I had to remind them once again to not touch anything. Children need directions and reminders. If I did see misbehavior , I would stop the lesson and tell the students we can't move forward with our fun lesson because so and so is doing something they're not supposed to be doing.

Angelica Munoz
Angelica Munoz
320 Activity Points

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