I will be an elementary teacher in just two years. What's the best advice you can give me regarding how to promote and teach science effectively in my classroom? I am a bit worried because science is one of my least favorite subjects, but I don't want my students to know that.

Alison Hunter
Alison Hunter
150 Activity Points

One of my supervisors always says, "You only need to be one step ahead of the students." Log on to your district's school board site and see what professional development offerings they have for teachers in your area. If you are student teaching or observing, ask the administration if you can attend some of the local workshops for teachers. You're very smart to be asking for information and being a member of the NSTA Forums. There is a lot of information and experience here. Have you considered going to an NSTA Conference? There may be one close to you. Students get a discount on conference fees. Keep devouring everything you can find dealing with elementary science, watching videos, and trying the experiments yourself. Give yourself a goal of say 2 or 3 experiments a month. Try them at home and then try them with neighborhood children, or friends' children. Ask the children questions, what will happen? why do you think that? what makes you say ...? How could this be changed up to have a different outcome. Good luck to you and keep asking questions.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
92289 Activity Points

A couple of ideas:  integrate science with subjects such as social studies or literature that you are more familiar with, and which your students may be more familiar with; look for hands on activities that you design that will get your students engaged.

Deborah Bronner
Deborah Bronner
650 Activity Points

Throughout the years, the school’s curriculum and limitation towards amplifying the students capacities to expand their abilities has set us as future educators at a uncomfortable place to teach Science. Science has been known for notes and lecture, as if it were the only way to teach the subject. Students have set Science as simply a subject to pass instead of becoming passionate about it. That’s why it’s our duty to fully educate ourselves to pass on our knowledge which will help them become comfortable and better prepared. 

Yasmin Alvarado
Yasmin Alvarado
295 Activity Points

Hi, Alison!

I would have also considered science to be my least favorite subject up until I would say the last year or two.  I know instead think it was more of how I was taught which negatively influenced my views of subjects like Science.  When science is taught in a more inquiry-based approach following the NGSS, it becomes more mearningful, interactive, and engaging for both students and teachers.  I agree with others who replied suggesting the webinars that the learning center provides, as they have many for phenomena based lessons, hands on learning, and inquiry-based classrooms.  I have listed some of the resources below.  I hope this helps!

Ashalenia Graham
Ashalenia Graham
985 Activity Points

You can always include fun, interactive activities that will make your students (and you) more passionate towards the subject of science. If they are having fun, they will even forget that they are learning in the meantime. Perform experiments with them in the class, show interesting clips, and support learning opportunities for them.

Madison Barr
Madison Barr
195 Activity Points

Thank you for your advice. I am also a future teacher and am looking into how to implement science into my classroom in the near future. Up until last year, I did not enjoy science and did not believe I was good at it. It was very interesting to see my own ideas surrounding science change as I began to learn about teaching science through inquiry. In my K-12 days, as far back as I can remember, science looked like worksheets and lectures. We were often put into groups and did not feel like I had the freedom to explore the concepts at my own pace. My classmates often had the goal to divide and conquer the worksheets, or to rely on the students who naturally understood science, to get the work done as quickly as possible. This put me in a position where I had to choose to either keep up with my peers and not fully understand the concept, or face the lesson alone, leaving me with no peers to bounce ideas and questions off of which would cause me to fall behind and have to sacrifice free time before or after school to finish the lesson. Essentially, this format sucked the joy and learning out of science and I began to resent the subject. With inquiry based lessons, students are able to explore the concepts with less of an expectation to fill out worksheets or packets. Being able to explore the concepts through hands on activities began to feel more like play rather than work. The realization that I could not only understand the material but actually excel in the subject was shocking to me. I feel somewhat sad that I lived this long disliking a subject that I now find so fascinating. I strive to implement fun, interactive activities in my lessons so that my students do not end up feeling the negative emotions towards science that I once had. I want all of my students to know that they, too, can be scientists. 

Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall
1960 Activity Points

It's interesting that you say this because prior to this year I was always intimidated by Science. It's not so much that I didn't like the subject, but I just thought of myself as someone that would never be qualified enough to teach Science. Now that I was placed in a situation where Science has been thrown at me left and right and I have to conduct labs, and think of experiments for my 4th graders, I actually enjoy it. My advice to you is to establish routine, rules, procedures, expectations, and rapport with students FIRST. Don't start off with the "fun" stuff right off the bat. Let them ease their way into a Science setting that's interactive. I can really assure you that once you witness the level of engagement that students have during your lesson and witness their eagerness in learning, you will start delving into the science topics yourself in preparation to teach the kids the next day :). 

Amerah Hashim
Amerah Hashimi
1090 Activity Points

I agree routines and procedures really help to keep the classroom under control. There is a really good book called The first Days of School it talks a lot about classroom management and the importance of setting rules and procedures. That would be a really good book to find examples for different rules and procedures. I like the view point of easing them into the fun stuff! It might be challenging to really start out with the fun stuff before they really know the expectaiton for the classroom. 

Callie Cook
Callie Cook
714 Activity Points

Hi Alison! I am a pre-service teacher from Iowa and I will be teaching in the classroom in just under a year! It is a exciting and scary time because I also have those concerns. Science today is being put on the back burner in many elementary schools, but it is important to still try to include it whenever you can! I used to hate science, but since I have come to college, I have learned to love it. I'm glad you realize that you do not want your students to know science is not your favorite subject. It is important to always show your students how excited you are no matter what subject. To promote science in the classroom, I would recommend trying to incorporate in with other subjects. For reading, they could read a book about science. In math, they could solve math problems that relate to science. My biggest advice to you would be to make science fun. Something I do is bring in animals and allow the students to hold them and learn more about them. Another fun activity is allow students to practice science by growing their own plant. Also you do not necessarily need to teach science to teach skills they need for science. Allow your students to ask questions, be curious, and allow time for inquiry lessons. Good luck and make the classroom fun for you and your students! Natalie

Natalie Peyton
Natalie Peyton
20 Activity Points

Collaborate with other science teachers and learn what strategies they are using that are most beneficial. The first year teaching is always the hardest year and you will learn a whole lot between year 1 and year 2 that will make you a better teacher. Good luck.

Shawn Clark
Shawn Clark
230 Activity Points

This is also something that I worry about in my future classroom. I want all of my students to have the opportunity of experiencing science in a fun learning environment. I have begun by practicing small science experiments with the kiddos that I nanny. I found that they are naturally curious and love learning why things happen. I will definitely be taking the advise of trying to stay one step ahead of my students!

Jessalyn Primrose
Jessalyn Primrose
4465 Activity Points

Great Advice! I too worry about becoming a first year teacher and all the new experiences and challenges that come with it. The one advice I that stood out to me was collaborating with other teacher about what works and dosen’t work. Science is a fun and exciting subject to teach because students are naturally curious and Science reaaly gives them the opportunity to explore. For first year teachers there will probably be a lot of trial and error but we can limit this by asking and collaborating with other teachers who have more experinence. Talking through ideas and questions I know would benefit me when creating a lesson and an activity. I want to make sure that kids are learning but are also having fun exploring and getting the correct information.

Alondra Hernandez
Alondra Hernandez
795 Activity Points

I feel that there is a lot to learn from the teachers around you. Most teachers are willing to lend advice when asked. When it comes to teachers who have been teaching for many years they will be good resources to tell you things that work well and ways to really get the students to understand the topic. Experiments can make the material fun but it is important to make sure it is making the correct connections that you are wanting the students to make. 

Callie Cook
Callie Cook
714 Activity Points

Science is a philosophy and a practice which enables us to understand the world in which we live and move. 

All humans observe phenomena everyday that they cannot explain. For example: How does  a rainbow form?; Why do I have a cold? And, what causes me to have a cold?; Why do plants require sunlight to grow?; etc. I am sure that you and your students can come up with many more examples of phenomena that they cannot explain than I have here!

For a student to begin to practice science, a philosophical framework is required and some background knowledge to frame their thinking. 

In my 7th grade science class, I teach my students to use the approach of Claim-Evidence-Reason. A claim is an idea that I have that may explain how the phenomena occurs-- this is labeled Claim 1. It should be specific. There should also be a counterclaim which is labeled Claim 2. The simplest way of writing this is that if in Claim 1 the phenomena is explained by something, then in the counterclaim (Claim 2) it is NOT explained by that something. I then have a hands-on activity for them to experience the phenomena and to look for evidence that supports or refutes their claim. The evidence should be written down and used for the student to reason through the evidence in support of the initial claim (Claim 1) or the counterclaim (Claim 2).

Background knowledge is sometimes taught in the lecture format, but an inquiry-based approach with a storyline engages most if not all students. Science is collaborative and we should learn from the work that others have done to inform our own thinking and to acknowledge their work.

Jeremy Goforth
Jeremy Goforth
1396 Activity Points

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