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Effective Science Teacher

Hello!

I am currently a senior in college and will be graduating soon. As a person who struggled in the science area, how do you prepare or what tips would you give to teach this subject in an effective way? I want students to enjoy learning this subject, and I want to teach this in an enjoyable yet accurate manner. 

Julie Valadez
Julie Valadez
2540 Activity Points

Build your own library of content- "My Library", don't frontload lessons, do not define vocabulary, and start the new topic off with a phenomena. The "fun" things are fun because the teacher makes them fun and exciting. Ask them what questions they have, list those questions on the board or chart paper. Those questions will drive your instruction and root out misconceptions students have so you will know where to focus. 

There are so many resources here. When I first used the NSTA site, I just clicked on everything and explored until I found out what works for me. You can't learn everything over night but, a wise mentor told me, stay one step ahead of your students.  Commit to learning 2 new things each month and then add to that each month afterwards. Take content in small bites. There isn't a teacher that I know that doesn't wish they could go back and re-do their first few years of teaching!

When students ask questions, they are assimilating information and you do not need to know all the answers! Tell them they asked an excellent question and you want them to write it in their notebook. Then you ask them to find the information and share it with the class. This also helps cut down on those random questions that are off topic. They will only write down the questions that are truly important to them.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
92289 Activity Points

Hi Julie, 

 

As someone who began teaching science in the tutroing center at my university, moved on to HS tutoring and now teach middle school I feel the mostg important thing you can do is make students feel they can learn and accomplish goals in science. So many students feel that they aref not smart enough to do it, or to achieve the lessons goal but once you show them they can do it once it almost triggers something that pushes them. From there I feel it is extra important to be involved and be the the most "effective  teacher" you can be!

Brandon Ramirez
Brandon Ramirez
655 Activity Points

Julie,

 

As a first-year teacher, I have two pieces of advice for you: enthusiasm and fun. Science can become a daunting subject to learn with all of the heavy concepts and vocabulary. If you do not seem excited to teach the content and talk about it, the students will not be engaged enough to learn it. I usually achieve this by relating the content to real-world scenarios and issues. Fun might be even more important! The most appealing part of science to our students is the hands-on activities. The simplest act of walking outside and collecting dirt to sample can make it a fun day.

Good luck to you.

Camillia Ledbetter
Camillia Ledbetter
755 Activity Points

Julie, 

This was my first year teaching. I was a research scientist before teaching. I love science and I love sharing what I know but the great thing about science is it's okay to not to have all the answers. My background is in neuroscience and genetics and I'm teaching 7th grade integrated science. Many times the questions students ask me I don't know and I make sure to honestly tell them I don't know. But then I have them help me find the answers. I have found that they enjoy the investigation process and it also helps them to understand it is okay to not know but there are ways to get the information (correctly). I also try to teach phenomenon that interest them so that they stay engaged. The best lessons for them this year where ones that pertained to their everyday life.  Find phenomenon that relate to your interest and the students, i'm sure you will all find it enjoyable. 

Rachel Blackwood
Rachel Blackwood
65 Activity Points

Here are some of what I have learned teaching middle school science:

-Focus on phenomena and the students use of their senses to make observations. When it fits, make use of instruments which extend our senses to examine the phenomena. 

-Engage with the students with questions and think-out-loud with the students during classroom discussion.

-Create an engaging and warm environment where it is ok to to arrive at the “wrong answer”. 

-Teach lessons with a storyline which captivates students thinking.

Jeremy Goforth
Jeremy Goforth
1396 Activity Points

I am a student teacher and one thing that I feel brings the student interested in science is bringing the real world into the lessons. I think it is beneficial for the lessons to make real-world connections that the students can relate to, this way they understand why they are learning about it. Using a phenomenon at the beginning of the lessons engage the students and allow them to begin asking questions. 

Nicole Anthony
Nicole Anthony
682 Activity Points

I too am a student teacher and getting to experience the teaching of science is very rare in many different placements I have been in. There is so much time required for the other curriculum so I may see a science lesson every other week. Of the science lesson I have seen in the past, the ones that students are engaged most in are those that they are exploring. The less worksheets the better I think. Having them create a way of doing something to promote and praise mistakes is the only way they are going to learn. Take risks and when in doubt you will learn from a mistake and better the lesson for the next time. 

 

Baylee Houck
Baylee Houck
535 Activity Points

I certainly can empathize with you on this matter. I have been teaching Social Studies for my first year. Science is my second content area, but I do not feel as comfortable with it. 

Brittany Alao
Brittany Alao
580 Activity Points

When I was in middle school and high school, science seemed scary and unaccomplishable to me. Now that I teach middle school science, I go out of my way to teach students that sometimes things look scary and unaccomplishable, but that doesn't mean that they are. I integrate a lot of Social-Emotional Learning practices into my classroom by naming what emotions students might be feeling during a lesson (scared, nervous, anxious, etc.), explaining they are not the only ones that feel that way, and demonstrating how I can help them. 

I also love pointing out student progress in retrospect. For example, "Umm... wasn't it you that told me you would never in a million years be able to complete one of these and now you just did three on your own? You are so amazing!" 

Erica Herold
Erica Herold
715 Activity Points

This year I was as a student teacher and had the opportunities to work with a 1st and 4th grade classroom. In both grade levels, anything we did for science was very hands-on and minimal worksheet assignments. We did science at least once a week in each grade. Assignments would include interactive experiments, videos, or observations. We did a lot of experiments and usually did some kind of record sheet with them, created books, or anything to take away from the lesson. It's always important to rememeber to try and connect the lesson to their real-world experiences. We did lessons about states of matter and tried to see which way would melt a solid ice cube the quickest, created slime to demonstrate the conservation of matter, what plants need to grow, plant life cycle, metamorphosis and more. All of these lessons were very interactive and hands on. With younger grades they can be more observational and hands on but the higher grades you can add in other fun things like interactive notebooks for them to keep track of what they're doing. It's always a great idea to try to get outside and incorprate their environment as much as you can!

Ashley Gregory
Ashley Gregory
805 Activity Points

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