Carolina Biological OSE - June 2024


General Science and Teaching


Author Post
Elizabeth Pat ELIZABETH PAT 275 Points

Hello All,

I am currently an education student; I'd like to ask, what motivational techniques  have you found to be successful in your classrooms? 


Thank you,


Rubi Oregon Rubi Oregon 105 Points

In the past, I have used a reward system in which students receive points for positive and exemplary behaviors such as staying on task, being prepared for class, asking questions, helping classmates, etc. The student with the highest points at the end of the month, would receive a gift card to for example, starbucks, jamba juice, game stop, and so forth. This system worked for middle school students. However, if you teach a younger age, some things you can do is have a recognition wall with student work samples, a top 10 list, or even a sticker data poster (student name and amount of stickers earned next to the student's name). With the sticker data poster, when the student receives an x amount of stickers, they can choose an object from your 'treasure' box. 

Faith Slinger Faith Slinger 2470 Points

Hi Elizabeth, 

I am an Education major at the University of Northern Iowa and in a science methods class we recently talked about incorporating play into the classroom through STEM experiences. The main reason to do this is so that the students have free reign of thier learning and can learn many different things through play. Some different methods of playing that us future teachers experienced were lights and shadows, ramps and pathways, air movement, cooking, and playing with tops. All of these ways of play have many different things that students can learn from them. This is just a thought for a future classroom. 

Riley Bodley Riley Bodley 2665 Points

Hi Elizabeth! I am a pre service teacher at the University of Northern Iowa, and throughout my education classes, we have discussed how important it is to motivate our students; I am so glad you realize the same! Motivating students can be as simple as teaching/learning about something they are interested in. If it is something students are really curious about and invested in, they will be more motivated. As other people have mentioned, play in a classroom can be a really powerful thing. No matter what the age, it is very motivating for students to be able to explore and ask questions, and discover their own answers. The only word of caution I have for you about motivating students is be careful about how you use rewards. Rewards are a form of extrinsic motivation, which will not motivate students in the long run! Hope this helped, and best of luck :)

Jade Selig Jade Selig 2155 Points

Hi Elizabeth!

Some students are easier to motivate than others!  Something we have discussed frequently in several of my classes besides science, is play in the classroom.  When incorporating play into the classroom, I think it makes any student more engaged and motivated.  When incorporating play into the classroom, students are just 'playing' they are learning so many more skills that can be translated to other activities.  In addition, they do not realize how much they're learning while doing so!

Ryan Veencamp Ryan Veencamp 1760 Points

Hey Elizabeth! Getting the students up and around really lightens the mood in my classrooms. One thing talked about in my classes is how play is essential in a child's development, but also for them learning, growing, and becoming engaged in their own learning. I think another general thing is giving them more time. Time to explore concepts, ideas, themes, amongst others, even if it's taking longer than you planned, it's great to give the students extra space if they have found something they really enjoy.

Stephanie Gomez Stephanie Gomez 390 Points

That really depends on the class or student.  I have used previleges, fieldtrips, in class movies, snacks, bets or special lunches for the various classes I have taught.  Just find out before you invest your time and/or money.  I ask my students and set up a time frame.   If the motivation is meant for one student in particular, we make a contract that the student signs.  If it's a whole class event, I keep track on the board.  Whole class motivations are a good way to get the students to encourage each other (i.e. team work). Be flexible.  Give them plenty of chances and extensions.  Don't be punitive.

Abby Moore Abby Moore 1895 Points


I am a pre-service teacher currently taking a science methods course. In class, we discussed that students can be motivated through play in your classroom. In early elementary grades, students can learn science concepts through play. An example of play would be building with blocks. Through the process of building with blocks, students can learn engineering skills that will make them better science learners in the future. Play is motivating because students are allowed the choice of what they do. They are allowed to explore their own ideas, testing out their theories and discovering what works and what doesn't. I encourage you to try this in your classroom and see how motivated your students become!

Daisy Johnson Daisy Johnson 1960 Points

Hi Elizabeth, I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa and we have recently listened to a guest speaker about play and its importnace in a classroom. If students are given the opportunity to play, they will be more engaged in the lesson. This is a way for them to explore a lesson topic. Say you are doing a lesson on light and shadows. If students are able to have inquiry-based or hands on learning before the lesson instruction, they will have better background knowledge on what they have expereinced with light and shadows. This will also help with classroom management because they will be engaged and excited to be doing something so hands on. They will feel that they are helping to teach the class based on the observations that they have made, and be excited to share what they have learned from their experience. I hope this helps! 

Matt Baker Matt Baker 3360 Points

Hello Elizabeth! 

I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa. I am currently taking a science methods course and last week we had two speakers come and speak to our class. One of our speakers talked about how play is extremely important to incorporate into the classroom. Play motivates students. Play makes everything more enjoyable for students. If play is involved, all content is more memorabel for students. Incorporating play into the classroom allows students to use their own creativity. Even when play is involved in my college courses it's more enjoyable and memorable for me. there are many examples of play that can be used in science class. Science is all about using your imagination, and incorporating play into the classroom involves a lotof imagination, which is very helpful for students. Having students build with blocks or legoscan build on their engineering skills. Play is a fun and easy way to help with engagement in the classroom! 

Courtney Foertsch Courtney Foertsch 2540 Points

Hi Elizabeth, 

In my science methods class, we learned the about the importance of incorporating play into the classroom. This allows the students to do something fun and still being engaged while learning. I think students are more motivated when they are interested what they are learning. They will be more willing to ask questions and investigate the problem on their own. I also think students will be more motivated if they have more hands on activities they can participate in. Hope this helps!!

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