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Elementary Science

Engaging Students

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Ginny Davis Ginny Davis 2180 Points

What are some of the way you have found that best engage your students when introducing a new topic??

Kau'ilani Ahlo-Souza Kau'i'lani Souza 315 Points

A lot of the time I like to start with asking questions. For example, if they are learning about sound and light I would ask them, 'What are some things you know about sound?' I might even start with recall questions, 'Last week you were in different sound centers. Tell me, what were some of the sound centers and what did you learn from them?' Something else could be starting off with the 'title' of your topic, then your teaching point and maybe a video introducing the topic. Another idea, starting off with having them help you answer a question or fill out a graphic organizer and then go into your topic. Hope this is helpful!

Malia Pimentel Malia Pimentel 855 Points

I have found it really helpful to connect the lessons to students. Engage them by bringing up things students can relate to or have propably had some kind of experience with. I find that sometimes (often with younger students) students just don't understand the new topic and have no way to relate to it so they just become uninterested in learning about it. Another way to engage student is to show them a phenmenon that would surprise or intrigue them and spark questions in them so that they want to learn more about it. Getting students to generate questions is a good way to see their enagement and those student generated questions are often things students are actually really curious about and what to learn more about. You could even plan your next lesson around those student generated questions that come up. 

Cassidy McDannell Cassidy McDannell 390 Points

Hi Ginny!

I have found that students love investigating new topics rather than just learning the information. By allowing students to explore and conduct some research on their own (on topics that they find interesting) they are learning and also engaged with the subject. This motivates them to think about the subject deeper and makes them actually want to learn. Posing questions and having students explore the topic on their own really gets them involved! 

Kendra Chavis Kendra Chavis 1800 Points

I am a preservice teacher and have spent the semester teaching science lessons to kindergarten and third grade. Science is something that should be engaging for students because most of the time they are doing some kind of experiment or investigation. The way that I have best introduced a new science topic in an engaging way, is by showing the students some type of phenomena. Whether it is a video or a different type of phenomena, students usually become engaged right away. It helps to follow up the phenomena with discussion questions as well. These discussion questions should be something where they can connect an experience they have had or can connect it to prior knowledge.

Bola Ogunbayode Bola ogunbayode 1695 Points

Hi! using Phenomena, is a great way to engage students. utilize engaging activities, hands on activities, use short videos related to the topic, use gifs, pictures. Have students make prediction, explain what they see. use probing questions and have them think. 

Rachel Jones Rachel Jones 720 Points

Using phenomena has been quite useful in getting the students I work with excited about a new lesson. There are great activities online to get them asking questions on their own. Activities can range from watching a video or creating something like a kazoo in class. 

Justin Hudcovic Justin Hudcovic 685 Points

Finding experiments that catch students' attention truly makes a difference. Also, finding experiments that students are passionate about is beneficial as well. It can go a long way when trying to engage students in your class

Haley Matsuoka Haley Matsuoka 635 Points

I think that creating a memorable experience is a great way to engage your students. I like to create hands-on activities because students seem to take an interest in the new topic. Encouraging students to ask questions is helpful because it makes them wonder beyond the lesson you teach and gets them interested in the topic at a deeper level. 

Charisse Rubio Charisse Rubio 705 Points

Definitely choosing a Phenomena that is interesting to students and introducing it to students to engage them from the beginning. I actually just taught a science lesson today and learned that giving students responsibility and holding them accountable for their learning keeps them engaged. Ask them questions, have them turn and talk to partners, and give them opportunities to be hands-on. Try your best to make the lesson relatable to the lives of your students!

Nicolas Vierra Nicholas Vierra 855 Points

One way to engage students while introducing a new science topic would to give the lesson context to the student's lives. Here are some questions to think about: How can the new topic directly affect their daily life? How can the student make a difference/change the science topic? I think it's really important to have students question and think about the science topic and how it relates to their life; purposeful education. By doing this, you let students have freedom with the topic and the freedom of choice really keeps the students interested. As the teacher you have the power to steer/guide students into the right direction and keep the students in check. At the end of the day, to keep students engaged I would try to incorporate context and allow students to pick/question the phenomena to promote science inquiry. 



Morgan Ideoka Ideoka Morgan 710 Points

As many of the replies have mentioned, I would say giving the students some sort of phenomena is a great way to grab their attention. My own instructor suggested a phenomena I could use in a science lesson I completed recently that involved putting a biodegradeable packing peanut into water. The students would watch what happened and I asked them what sort of questions they had about the phenomena. It was amazing to see how engaged my class was through that alone, so I would say having a phenomena is a great way to pull them into the lesson.

Connecting the content to what your students know (their prior knowledge) is also a great way to introduce them to a topic. You could ask them a simple question, or you could even have the students do a quick write to show what they know about the topic. This will also help us teachers know what misconceptions students have on the topics and better plan ways we can teach the content. This can tie back into the above mentioned phenomena, because you could introduce a phenomena that is the total opposite of a students' initial background knowledge or the misconceptions they may have. It could slowly help them learn more about the topic.

Morgan Cronin Morgan Cronin 1985 Points

I would say that giving the students some form of phenomena would be a great attention getter. When we do Science lessons for our PDS, we create some form of phenomena that will get the students hooked right away and then build off of that. Another way to engage them would be bring up previous material that they have already learned and get them engaged that way.

Tyler Britt Tyler Britt 515 Points

Hi, Bola –

In addition to the chorus of folks suggesting the use of phenomena and hands on experiences (YES!), let me also mention the importance of asking students to generate questions at the start of a new topic. I always encourage the teachers I support to include time for students to generate questions as part of their engage lesson.

You might refer to Science and Engineering practice #1 for more information on what this looks like in your particular grade band (K-2 or 3-5). This investment in their personal questions goes a long way.


Happy teaching,


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