At the core of science is the wonderment of inquiry. Encouraging this inquiry is how you bring science into the classroom, transforming your kids into budding scientists who want to discover the why’s hiding behind everyday phenomena.
Luckily, there are ways to turn your classroom into a laboratory of discovery without fire and explosions!
Here are our favourite ways to boost science in the classroom:
1. The Wonder Table
Set up a special area in the class (like a table) where teachers and students place thought-provoking objects, articles and questions. Your kids can use post-it notes to write questions or hypotheses about the things at the Wonder Table and using these notes you can start a class inquiry!
Tip: Try to tie in the Wonder Objects to things happening around the school – for World Math’s Day you could put in an abacus, or pictures of famous scientists on their birthdays.
2. Explore the Everyday Why’s
To your kids, the flight of a butterfly into a class or an exciting item for show and tell might be a distraction – but they can be powerful tools for science learning.
By listening and responding to everyday observations of phenomena – like why a paper plane didn’t fly or why do moths always bump their head against the light – you can encourage students to question and investigate the world around them.
Use these small everyday occurrences to start a conversation, asking them to question the ‘why’ of what happened, to explain what they saw, and to predict what might happen next.
Tip: Give this class time a name or nomenclature, like ‘Science Heads’ or ‘Let’s get thinking caps on for this one.
3. Get Hands-On
Demonstrations are out, experiments and hands-on STEM tasks are in!
Gone are the days of the teacher at the front of the room ‘showing science’.Students learn best when they are engaged and working collaboratively. Set up regular science/maths/technology related challenges that require the help of all group members to solve.
For example, you can challenge students to:
Construct boats that float carrying items
– Make a marble run using only newspaper and sticky tape
– Build a structure that’s hard to knock over using glue and popsicle sticks
Tip: Mix up collaboration and competition – you can have it so the groups are competing to make a boat that can carry the heaviest load, or the longest marble run, or the most un-tippable structure!
4. Technology is Your Friend
Teachers’ tool belts have never had more pockets or tools at their disposal, so make use of them!
There are teaching methods and educational paths for every type of learner.
Videos can showcase the full visual impact of events like storms and volcanic explosions, or small moments, like a hummingbird in slow motion or the popping of a balloon.
Podcasts and audiobooks are great for supplementary learning and homework – kids get to multi-task and get introduced to other passionate educators who have unique ways of looking at the world.
Communication has never been easier or more accessible – think about Skyping in the experts to say hi to your class. Imagine an archaeologist waving from a dig or a geologist at the top of a mountain showing them the view!
Tip: Want to be the first to experience the newest in science edtech? Register your interest now!
5. Surround your class with science
They made walls for more than holding up the ceiling – use that space to inspire science!
Posters with natural phenomena, or unanswered mysteries, puzzles and brain teasers can entice distracted eyes into deeper thoughts about what’s happening in the world around them.
You could have a ‘Science wall’ where students stick their questions and set aside a time to get groups of students to pick one and try to answer it.
Afterwards, have the groups put further questions related to what they learned on the wall and start the process all over again!
Tip: Keep it relevant! The more your wall resonates with what’s happening in the world of the students, the more engaged they’ll be.
Bonus tip: Encouraging science thinking is about consistency – remind them to observe, question, explain and predict. They’ll be scientists-in-training before you know it.