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General Science and Teaching

Classroom management during a science experiment

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I’m currently studying to become a future elementary teacher. What specific classroom management skills would you recommend using as the students complete a science experiment? Any recommendations? Thanks.

Emily Faulconer Emily Faulconer 5755 Points

When I taught high school, my only classroom rule was 'Support Learning'. It is all-encompassing. It also made an easy reference - I could query a student who needed some management 'How could you better support learning with your behavior/words/etc. right now?'. It also is broad enough that I can assert behavior modification to support learning of others in the class. (We've all had a student who can be having a conversation with a classmate, texting a friend, and acing a test at the same time.)

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

Hi Lianne!  I'm assuming that by 'experiment' you mean any kind of hands-on investigation in science. I would definitely be sure to plan for enough time for students to not only complete the activity, but also time for them to summarize their procedures, organize and reflect on their results, and communicate their findings. Otherwise students may view the activity as just another fun thing to do, rather than as an interesting learning experience that is part of your unit of instruction. This time also allows students to settle down and transition to the next subject or class. 

You will also need to build in time for students to clean up and put materials away. Again, having procedures in place can streamline this. For example, to save time accessing and returning materials, I used numbered trays for each group with necessary materials and a list of the items to help students inventory and return them. -- Mary B 

Brandon Ramirez Brandon Ramirez 685 Points



Thank you for your response to this post. The idea about making sure students have enough time to reflect so that it is not just another 'thing to do' really clicked with me and is something I realize I need to fit in at the end of every investigation we do in the future. Sometimes I realize we go to the bell which is not effective for students, or not as effective as giving reflection time would be. 

Thank you Mary, it is great advice to provide enough time for our students to reflect after an experiment. This also give us the opportunity to see what studdents need clarification on.

Kaile Stewart Kaile Stewart 635 Points

Hi! I am also studying to be a future elementary school teacher and just had to complete a hands on acitivity during my field experience hours. My first piece of advice is to set your expectations and rules before you even start your lesson, let students know what you're going to be doing and what you expect from them to be able to continue the lesson. Also, during the activity continue to set these rules and re-inforce them by only callnig on students with their hands raised and walking around the classroom to make sure students are on task and following directions. 


Yamel Abreu Yamel Abreu 2970 Points

Safety always needs to be at the centerfold of a teacher’s concerns, however with well established routines safety will begin to seem like clockwork because it becomes an inherent part of a classroom. Any time chemicals are being used in a classroom; students need to wear the proper eye protection. In addition each classroom should have an eye washing station in the event that any chemicals get in anyone’s eye.

Hello I am currently studying to become a teacher. Any recommendations for how to keep class management when students need to be in a large group for an experiment? Thank you!

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