New Teachers

Making Connections

Sometimes I feel that my students are doing experiments in our lab however, when it comes time to discuss outcomes/content - they do not seem to make/understand the connection between labs and the specific content. It is beginning to feel as though our lab times have turned into a play time - this is worrisome for me because I enjoy having my students do hands-on projects however it is frustrating that they are not making the correct connections. I have a writing exercise for the end of every lab and when reading their responses, I notice that they are not producing what I expect - any suggestions? 

Julia Torres
Julia Torres
975 Activity Points

I would suggest keeping them engaged during the lesson by having them fill out recording sheets or playing a game of some sort such as bingo. The children can "bingo" when they hear or understand a certain term. This motivates them to pay attention and to learn without them really knowing. You can also give them an exit ticket asking them how this has helped them or something along those lines. Most importantly, it is vital for you to help them make personal connections in order for them to realize the significance and value in what they are learning. If all you do is give them hands-on activities without the content, are they truly learning? Therefore, you need to emphasize why they are learning what they are learning and not just because it will be tested. 

Elizabeth Llanas
Elizabeth Llanas
645 Activity Points

Your situation is interesting because your lesson sounds ideal since it is hands one. I wish i knew more about your situation and the type of activities you have your students do. I believe that perhaps constantly asking questions without giving them the answer can certainly help because I know that's how I learn as well as hands on and visuals.  

Jorge Armenta
Jorge Armenta
780 Activity Points

Your situation is interesting because your lesson sounds ideal since it is hands one. I wish i knew more about your situation and the type of activities you have your students do. I believe that perhaps constantly asking questions without giving them the answer can certainly help because I know that's how I learn as well as hands on and visuals.  

Jorge Armenta
Jorge Armenta
780 Activity Points

I would suggest having roles for each student to do in the group. In this way the students are held responsible for what they need to bring into the group rather than giving all the work to one person while the rest are just talking. I would also choose the groups for them so that the students are not with the students who they would normally talk to. 

Cindy Gumandoy
Cindy Guia Gumandoy
665 Activity Points

Just a thought, not sure if you are doing this but if the students don't have science background/a strong foundation, this may make it difficult for them to make the necessary connections (since they may be lacking the required information/science builds on previous concepts). Try doing a quick comprehension check before, or creating a concept map. What do they need to know already in order to understand this new concept? What should they be learning during the activity? What questions can I use to help guide them towards understanding the concept during the activity? Also, try making tasks and objectives specific, and use higher order question to get them thinking about what is happening during experiments. I have found the 5E lesson model to be very useful for this, as well as concept maps, and reviewing what students know before (Q&A) so you know what to address. Resource for all these are available through NSTA. Hope this helps! :)

Melissa Johnson
Melissa Johnson
795 Activity Points

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