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How to help kids love science?

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Diana Cuellar Diana Cuellar 790 Points

As a pre-service teacher I'm looking for advice on fun lessons/activities for the first few weeks of school geared towards kids that are afraid that science might be too difficult for them. I would love to help kids learn that science is fun and enjoyable.

Lauren Apodaca Lauren Apodaca 345 Points

I went straight in with hands-on activities! STEM challenges like 'Save Fred' or even just playing with microscopes and slides.

Kaylyn Hoth Kaylyn Hoth 670 Points

Hi Diana, 

I am also a preservice teacher and I am currently in Science Methods. Through this class, we have had the opportunity to teach many different students of many different grades. What I have found through these experiences is that the students love hands-on learning. When students are able to do rather than sit and listen they are going to be much more engaged in whatever you are teaching. 

Kaylyn Hoth Kaylyn Hoth 670 Points

Hi Diana, 

I am also a preservice teacher and I am currently in Science Methods. Through this class, we have had the opportunity to teach many different students of many different grades. What I have found through these experiences is that the students love hands-on learning. When students are able to do rather than sit and listen they are going to be much more engaged in whatever you are teaching. 

Anne Devecchi Anne Devecchi 180 Points

Diana, I am a pre-service teacher as well but I work in a public school as a teacher’s aide and I’m doing student teaching this semester at the elementary school level. I think that having some fun lessons at the beginning of the year is a good idea, but I also think it’s important to gather some information about student interests and the science topics they enjoy in order to engage students who are intimidated by science. You could do this by having a questionnaire about student likes and their familiarity with science including questions about their favorite activities, whether they have visited science museums or watched TV shows with science themes (depending on the age Wild Kratts, Sid the Science Kid or SciGirls are examples). You could also ask about science-related topics that might be of interest like Climate Change, keeping the ocean clean, chemistry and coding. If you had less time you could give examples and ask students to raise their hands for their likes. In terms of experiments that are engaging for elementary school-level kids I think that elephant toothpaste is always a good one. Also doing an egg drop and having students work in table groups to come up with a container that will best cushion the egg is also a way to get students involved. Best of luck to you!

Kourtney Schaffer Kourtney Schaffer 365 Points

Hi Diana, I am also a pre-service teacher, however I have been in the field through my college career, and in addition have been a substitute for the last 2 years. From what I have learned so far, start with hands on activities that are engaging and fun. Make sure there is room to spark curiosity as young minds are very creative and allowing them freedom in how they solve an activity is super important. STEM is a big thing to include in your classroom. Rather than just sitting and watching an experiment or having to write out why something happens, have students solve it for themselves. I also agree with Anne above, in that it is important to gather information about student interests. Yes, we have to follow specific curriculum and meet certain standards, but there is some freedom and allowing you students to have a say in what they learn from the start creates a love for science as they are interested in the activity given. The ideas given above of elephant toothpaste and egg drop are both great ideas that I have done myself and the students loved!! Also building popsicle stick bridges and seeing whose can hold the most weight. Making things competitive also gives there mroe desire to create a good project, but make sure kids wont become disrespectful to others in doing so. I wish you the best of luck! Be confident, you got this!

Darius Goodwin Darius Goodwin 175 Points

Hello Diana, I am also a pre-service teacher, and my philosophy for helping kids love science is center the activities around the students' interest. It is essential as a pre-service to make the activities appeal to the students. If the activities appeal to the students, then it will spark their curiosity, which wil cause the students to want to explore. Hands-on activities are helpful as well, because it moves away from teacher-led instruction and it gravitates more towards student-led instruction, but make sure that the activities are following the curriculum and aligns the standards. Another way to help students love science is by taking your students on field trips. This allows students to connect with nature and the environment around then, which can cause them to develop appreciation for the world around them. Furthermore, introduce the students to different scientists using videos or use animated videos to teach students about science. Give the students opportunities where they can make connections about science in their daily lives, and explain how science is related to that specific experience. Lastly, let students work in groups, this promote social interaction and collaboration amongst the students, and you can apply questioning in those discussions that the students are having in those groups. It will peak the students curiosity and draw them closer to science.

Bailey Dodd Bailey Dodd 195 Points

Hey Diana! I am also a preservice teacher and a way that would be benfifical for students to love science is by incorporating it into other subject areas. Science can be connected to every subject in some type of way. Figuring out what kind of fun science activity you can include in your ELA, Social Studies, or Math lesson would help your kids connect the areas and help them realize that science can be fun and you can use science to learn different things. Some times students just don't like science, but if you incorporate it into other subject areas they might not even realize they are using science until you make the connection for them. Also make sure your students have planty of hands on experience in their activities, children love when they can be messy and actually experience different experiments with their hands. This could spark an interest in science that your students didn't even know they had!

Haley Owens Haley Owens 430 Points

As a preservice teacher, I found all these ideas so helpful! I feel like students either love or hate science, and chemistry is normally the latter. I hope that by following your advice and using meaningful, hands-on activities, I will stimulate a love for STEM. 

Brian Cotroneo Brian Cotroneo 205 Points

I also happen to be a pre service teacher who is working as a teachers aide while attaining my masters degree. My education so far has leaned heavily on engaging students mostly with hands on activities, like others have mentioned in this forum. In my posiotion as a teachers aid in a biology lab, i am ganining vital experience. I have been extremely greatful for the opportubity to gain this experience prior to having a classromm of my own, so that I can lean on some of the activities i have seen so far.  

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