Teaching is not for the faint of heart. There are so many distinct challenges and rewards related to this field, but I think most teachers will agree with me when I say that the key to getting children interested and engaged in the classroom, and to get them to actually care about the subjects they’re learning, is to reach them on an emotional level. To communicate effectively, you need to remember that students learn differently. Some students learn visually using sight, some learn verbally by speaking out loud, some learn best in groups, and others learn best alone. There’s no right or wrong method as long as your students are retaining vital information.
In “The Importance of Science” I offer insight on four important concepts that science offers:
Science may not be the easiest subject to teach but kids are naturally curious and many love to explore and discover. Get hands-on in your classroom with these simple and fun experiments!
This is a low-cost experiment that is especially great for younger kids. All you need is a bag of mini-marshmallows and a box of toothpicks! First, let the marshmallows get a little stale. Then, start by playing around with shapes (which also reinforces basic geometry) to make squares, triangles, rectangles, pentagons, hexagons, and other one-dimensional shapes. Then, build three-dimensional shapes like pyramids, cubes, and prisms, to demonstrate how different shapes offer different amounts of physical support and stability. The last step is to challenge your students to see who can construct the tallest, sturdiest tower using these three-dimensional shapes!
This is the classic physics experiment we all know love! Challenge your students to bring in miscellaneous items such as bubble wrap, tissue paper, straws, cardboard, plastic bottles, newspaper, cotton balls, and other recyclable materials, (you’ll need to supply the eggs), and challenge your students to protect their raw egg from cracking. Students will get to design, construct, and test their own safety devices, then drop their egg containers from the same height to discover:
This reinforces the concept of gravity and high “g” force!
This experiment costs almost nothing because it teaches students how to make recycled paper! The only thing you’ll need besides your classroom recycling bin is some flower seeds. Extend this experiment over the course of a few days. It’s a great way to lighten the mood as students approach the end of the school year and exam season.
Start by shredding the old paper you plan to recycle and then soak it in water. To help the paper fibers separate and to create a finer mixture, use a whisk to mix the paper and water together. Then, allow the your paper/water mixture to sit in suspension. When ready for the next step, get a fine mesh (like a window screen) and slowly pour your paper/water mixture on top, pressing it through until only the paper is left, with the water drained out. Now you have recycled paper!
Add seeds to this refined mixture and plant it in your school garden or in a window pot to watch your flowers grow!
I love science. In my school assembly program “The Wacky Science Show” I use music, humor, sound effects, and audience participation to show just how fun science is! This highly educational assembly embraces the magic of science experiments without using any magic––the science amazes all on its own!
“Every student and even every teacher were engaged in The Wacky Science Show! It was a perfect combination of humorous grabbing entertainment and knowledgable interesting science experiments. All of the experiments were appropriate and simple for the students to watch and understand. Our school has a large ENL (English as a New Language) population, and the scientific language that was used was supported by visuals or examples with an experiment. Students got to participate in their seats as well as on stage, making everyone feel like an included scientist. Cris was also very entertaining and patient. This will be a great assembly to have at our school again!”
Rachel Melnick, Teacher, PS22Q, Flushing, NY
Recycling and Earth Day are two concepts closely connected to every day science. Get students involved in their local community for additional hands-on learning experiences!