Vernier Science Education - June 2024
 

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General Science and Teaching

Teaching Science with Less Abstraction

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Ryan Aguirre Ryan Aguirre 30 Points

Hello everyone! 

I've been teaching science for around three years. Since then,  I've been observing my students while taking on my subject. I came to observed that, they see science as an abstract subject which they couldn't imagine. Can you give me some tips on making my students appreciate the lessons more with limited time and resources. Any suggestion is highly appreciated  and would be a great help in improving my craft as a teacher. Thank you in advance. :)

Gabe Kraljevic Gabe Kraljevic 4564 Points

I think the way to teach science with less abstraction is to ground your lessons around observable phenomena.  Students build up knowledge and understanding by examining and investigating commonplace events. These do not have to be expensive demonstrations - just simple, everyday observations, pictures or videos.  There are many websites that provide these phenomenon and storylines to make just such learning happen.  The NSTA Learning Center and NGSS Hub are excellent places to search for these.  An example that I found: A time-lapse video of tree shadows moving during the day can be a springboard to investigating the motion of planets.  Case studies are similar to using phenomenon-based teaching and there are many websites that provide examples of these to use in science classrooms. http://sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu/cs/ is a good start. 

Inquiry projects in which students have choice or can select their own topic are another way for students to dive into a concept and demystify it for themselves.  They will take ownership for their learning and make it much more meaningful to them.  

Integrate the nature of science and how scientists think and work into your teaching.  I believe that people disbelieve scientific claims and find it abstract is because they don’t understand how scientists come about with their answers or the transitory nature of scientific knowledge. Students should find out that science isn’t magical or arcane, it is hard work and making conclusions based on the best evidence.

You can accomplish all these things with the smallest of budgets. 

Keep it grounded.  Keep it real. And, of course, keep it fun!

Hope this helps.

Ryan Aguirre Ryan Aguirre 30 Points

Thanks Ma'am Arlene, I am very grateful for your help.  By the way,  I am currently teaching in Junior High School. I will immediately try your suggestions in my class and I'll try to post the things that I found helpful to them right away. :)

Ryan Aguirre Ryan Aguirre 30 Points

Thank you Gabe. I'll try to go with this approach and integrate it to the way I teach science. I'll also try to brwowse the site you've suggested. 

I think this would be a great game changer to my class. :)

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