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Elementary Science

Engaging my students

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Mayte Salinas Mayte Salinas 710 Points

What would be some fun ways in which i may engage ny students who struggle with science? How can i make the learning less challenging for those who are struggling but yet effective. Open to all ideas!

Chloe Zierke Chloe Zierke 735 Points

Hello Mayte, I agree with Darren that creating hands-on experiences for the students is a great way to engage students in science. Allowing students to learn through doing something themselves will help keep them engaged in what they are learning. With these hands-on experiences, create lessons that allow them to fail, reevaluate, and revise. Those who feel as if science is something challenging may benefit from realizing that it is okay to fail as long as you evaluate what went wrong and try again. Scientists fail all the time. Rarely do things work out the first time. The mistakes these students make should be viewed as part of the learning process. By realizing that making these mistakes are okay, the students may also try things that they would not before and learn from their mistakes lessons they could have previously missed. Lastly, I would make sure to create experiences that relate to the real world. Students tend to gain a deeper understanding of information that they can create personal connections with. This also will provide the students with the reasoning behind why they are learning what they are. Understanding this could help them become motivated to engage in the material.

Chandler Njus Chandler Njus 980 Points

Hi Mayte,

I think the most helpful way for students to learn science is to engage them in hands-on experiences. I also encourage you to add a variety of learning approaches for the students. Meaning, don't do all worksheets, videos, readings. Students will get bored if you constantly do something over and over. One way to approach might be to do a wide variety at the beginning of the year and then figure out which ones worked best for students and gave the best result. Sometimes you might also have to do an individual approach for students because after all, all students learn differently. When I think of engaging students, I often think of ways that I wanted to learn and what ways of learning were most beneficial for me. In ways are you trying to get your students engaged? Is it their outcome, doing an experiment, or simply just loving science? These questions will also shift where you will go to make your science class more engaging.

I look forward to hearing how you approach it,


Emma Ammons Emma Ammons 635 Points

Hello Mayte, 

I also agree with what everyone else has said. Hands on learning/experiments are great ways to engage students. The task do not have to be long or compelx for them to complete either. To help students who struggle, really look into what you are trying to acomplish from the lesson. Is it the actions they do or a cocnept they are trying to learn. If it's a concept perhaps you can simplify the actions so they still engage in the lesson. If some area's try to cross multiple subjects. For exmaple in one of the classes I've been observing, they have been weighing a small and large carrot every school day. They do it durring their math lesson, but if you ask students to write down a guess first with reasoning they are practicing the begining steps towards a hypothesis which would cross into science. Otherwise, get to know the students, what do they do, what do their parents do, what is around your area and try to relate it back to that. Hope that helps a little. 

- Emma Ammons ([email protected])

Annie Mast Annie Mast 605 Points

Hello Mayte,

I am currently a third-year elementary education major from Wartburg College. As a student, I found science to be a frustrating subject for me because I did not find it interesting. However, one thing that my teachers did that engaged me as a learner was completing hands-on activities where it was okay to fail. Our education system has drilled into our brains that there is only one right answer and that failing is not an option. As I have continued to learn more about science, I realize that scientists fail all the time. It is important for students to realize that failing is all right as long as they reflect on what went wrong and try again. We should also try to teach concepts that will pertain to students' lives.


I hope this helps!

Annie Mast

Tiffany Snider Tiffany Snider 690 Points


I agree with everyone else who has replied to this. I really think including hands-on activities will be the best way to engage most of your students. Find something that interests your students and try to find a way to integrate that within the content or learning experience. Science could be a challenging subject for some because it can be so abstract. Find ways to make the content relatable for all your students. Connect it to their home, school, community, and real lives. This will make the content engaging, relatable, and easier for them to grasp. You got this! 

Luke Oravecz Luke Oravecz 6420 Points

Hey Mayte,

This is something that I have found different approaches for.  Depending on your student and their comfort level with the class of course.  For one, I like to have the student be a 'teacher helper' they can move around the room with me and watch groups as they work on experiments or anything else hands-on.  Also, I think it could be helpful to have that student be the group speaker.  They could work with their group and come up with a fun way to present the information to the class.  Both of these could be interesting ways for any student who is struggling to become more involved in the class.  

Lastly, if the speaker idea is something they are not comfortable with I would recommend having them be a score keeper or scribe type role for the class. 

Jessica Berry Jessica Berry 1000 Points


A fun way to engage those who struggle with learning science is to make science lessons relevant to them in a way that they can connect with the content. Also, find things that the students are interested in and tie those things with the lessons. Depending on what grade they are in, science can be more challenging but it is not impossible for them to do. As a teacher, it is important to know the reason WHY they struggle with science - that could help a lot as well. It is important that the students feel heard and valued, and that starts by having conversations about why they feel a certain way. 

Madeline Flaherty Madeline Flaherty 820 Points

I have found that integrating the scientific phenomena that your class is studying into other disciplins increases engagment with my students. For example, I taught conservation of matter to my 5th graders last years and connected it to our reading of Harry Potter -  it wen't very well and all of my students comprehended the lesson(s) based on our post-assessment data. 

Darren Rivas Darren Rivas 430 Points

Hi Mayte, I would recommend implementing hands on activities, such as experiments using candy or using everyday items you find in your classroom. Students love to be able to do the experiments themselves, therefore, it engages him/her to want to learn more. Hands on experiments makes learning fun and the student able to retain the information that was taught.

Ella Brase Ella Brase 630 Points

Hi Mayte, 

The two biggest pieces of advice I would give to you to help keep your students engaged, are to teach lessons based on your student's interests and to connect their learning to things they are currently experiencing or have prior experiences with. Another way to keep students engaged is to get them excited and involved with their learning. Let students be creative with their ideas, for example, challenge them to build a bridge that will hold at least 50 pounds with nothing but popsicle sticks and glue. This will allow them to be creative and use their problem-solving skills, while still working on academic concepts such as engineering and physics. I live in Iowa, so agriculture is a topic that many students can relate to. During a STEAM conference, we had a farmer bring in a dairy calf and discuss what goes on in a dairy farm. The students then discussed products that were made from dairy cows and made their own ice cream. I hope this was helpful and best of luck to you. 


Ella Brase   



Eva Hines Eva Hines 1165 Points

Hi Mayte,

One way I have found to help my struggling students engage is by having them participate in group or partner work with students who are strong in science. Sometimes, classmates are able to explain concepts to eachother more clearly than us teachers. Thus, the struggling students benefit by gaining a better understanding of the concept and the other students have the opportunity to test their own understanding by trying to help one of their classmates along.

Valerie Torrieri Valerie Torrieri 655 Points

One way to engage students who are struggling with science is by assigning more physical manipulatives to activites. Having students participate in hands on activities helps them because they are more engaged and more motivated than just a piece of paper in front of them to write some answers on. Visual manipulatives also help struggling students see what is happening, rather than just hearing how a process works as it is lectured to them or reading about a process from a sheet of paper. For most students, the most memorable moments in the classroom will be when they were participating in engaging activities with their classmates rather than just doing independent and what most kids consider 'busy work'. Physical manipulatives and experiments also allows a lot of opportunity for group work, which a teacher would have full control over. Pair students who are strong in science with struggling students, give them a hands on activity. The strong student will be able to use the physical manipulatives to show the struggling student, rather than verbally explaining it. 

Nora Rinehart Nora Rinehart 370 Points

I am a fourth-year elementary education major from Wright State University and I have never been in a classroom that teaches science in my college career. This is something that I struggle with because I have no idea how to even teach science in a fun way, but I talk a lot with teachers around the building at the school I am doing my student teaching with. Most teachers say that not many students like science because they find it too hard to follow and it isn't fun. One of our science partner teachers likes to have weekly science experiments every week on Friday. She tells the students what they are going to be doing on Monday and they work at the skill and topic all week till Friday. On Friday, they review what they learned and then the whole class does a science experiment that goes along with the topic they are learning. I think another issue out there is that most people don't like to fail and they think that if they don't get or understand something the first time, then they won't ever get it and they give up. Science is not the subject that needs mastery to survive, so I think it is important to tell students to not worry if they fail a couple of times. Scientists are always working on things to nmake them better and to master them.

Shontel Harris Shontel Harris 460 Points

Hi Mayte, 

Everyone in the comments has given some excellent advice. I believe that getting to know students' particular interests and incorporating them into the content is an excellent strategy to increase student engagement. Along with correcting misconceptions about what a scientist is, some students believe that in order to be a scientist, we must all look like Albert Einstein, which is not the case. As a result, providing students with a safe and secure environment may enable them to become fully involved.

Jacob Shaw Jacob Shaw 440 Points

Hi Mayte!

Finding ways to engage our students who seem to struggle more is a crucial task as a teacher. I think that the most important way to do so is to provide them with the opportunity to be hands-on with the science. Students often struggle because they are not able to understand exactly what is being said to them in terms of the science so finding ways that get them actively involved may help. In addition, find other resources that reiterate what is being taught to them in class. It may be something as simple as a YouTube video or a book that goes along with the topic but finding a way to help give that information in a different format is often helpful as well. 

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