Next Generation Science Standards

Helping Students Who "Just Don't Get It"

My name is Julia and I am a future teacher! The subject in school that I always struggled with was science-I never quite seemed to grasp many of the concepts. I am wondering if any of you current and experienced teachers have any tips for me to teach other students who have a hard time grasping the concepts. It is hard to give every student one on one time so I am wondering if there are any other ways to help explain science to those students who "just don't get it?"

Julia Spendio
Julia Spendio
190 Activity Points

Hello! My name is Seo Hyun and I am an undergraduate working towards elementary education certificate. Science has always been my weakest subject in grade school and I'm still concerned if I could teach it well to my students! I'm not a teacher yet, but some of the recommendations for students who "just don't get it" are taking down notes/names of students who struggle and paying extra careful attention to them. You always want to think about them as you teach and check if they're on the right track. Creating engaging lesson plans that accomadates diverse learners because everyone has different learning styles(visual learners, auditory learners).Lastly, get to know your students interest so that you can tie that into your lessons. 

Seo Yi
Seo Yi
1190 Activity Points

Hi Julia! I imagine you're in a classroom now teaching and that you have figured this out. But I definitely feel you can help these children who have a really hard time by relating content to their life as best as you can and through inquiry projects. There is so much data that shows students learn better when using inquiry processes rather than teacher-led lessons. I think keeping them interested and excited about a subject they claim not to like or understand is one of the most difficult steps to overcome but once you do I believe you'll be able to really help them! I am still pre-service but I was definitely one of these kids when it came to science and I think if I thought the information would have benefitted me in the future it would have made a huge difference. I hope this helps and good luck!

Sydney McCain
Sydney McCain
985 Activity Points

I agree with the other comments I'm seeing on here... Definitely providing student autonomy over their learning, allowing students to explore topics in a variety of directions of their choosing, and tailoring projects towards their interests instead of generic ideas! Those experiences are the ones that I still remember today from my own learning. The other piece of advice I would give you to help ideas really be clear and sink in is to always wrap things up with a class discussion of some sort. Whether this is students sharing their findings from an experiment, comparing findings and ideas to each other, or just reiterating what was learned that day/unit, some sort of conversation about the learning to wrap things up and solidify ideas is always helpful. Good luck!

Molly Lembezeder
Molly Lembezeder
3130 Activity Points

Hello, there! I love all the advice and comments that have been posted so far. However, in addition to creating inquiry-based learning, differentiated instruction, and student-centered learning, I think it is also important that we teachers keep encouraging students who are struggling. In my own classroom, I plan to implement a growth mindset culture. I'm sure many of you have already heard about this, however, the growth mindset is the idea that people have a "self-theory" about themselves. It states that there are two mindsets: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. Someone with a growth mindset believes typically believes that intelligence is developed and is created through effort and hard work. On the other hand, people with a fixed mindset tend to believe that intelligence and talent are inherited and cannot be changed. We affect whether or not our students have fixed mindsets or growth mindsets. It's influenced by the way we speak and what we say, the way our classroom is set up, our expectations of them, etc. This is something that I have been learning as a pre-service teacher and I have found to be true myself. It's a really awesome concept by Carol Dweck and backed up by research! I encourage anyone who isn't aware of it, to look it up!

Thanh Thao Nguyen
Thanh Thao Nguyen
460 Activity Points

Hi Julia!! I am also a student teacher and I struggle with some of this with my students now. I was also a student who just didn't get it but my subject was math. We are learning in school that students shouldn't be doing worksheets but having student led activities. I really like how most of the responses you got were about high level inquiry lessons as well. That goes hand in hand to what we are learning in our science curriculum class but I relate it to every subject when coming up with lessons. Also, always start with what your struggling students know and try to push them from there. Differentiation is difficult but it is well worth it!

Samantha Evans
Samantha Evans
270 Activity Points

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