What Is Or Will Be Your Biggest Challenge In Teaching Science

Teaching science presents unusual challenges and rewards. For this weeks post I want you to reflect on what you consider to be your biggest challenge in teaching science. Explain your answer, and check back to see what others consider to be their greatest science teaching challenge.

15 thoughts on “What Is Or Will Be Your Biggest Challenge In Teaching Science

  1. Laura March
    Edu 7136

    Teaching in general can have both challenges and rewards. A few of the challenges I feel I would face are timing in general, the changing or revision of scientific theories and the unpredictability of lessons and experiments.
    Teaching involves planning lessons to fit within a certain amount of time; a period is usually about forty minutes. I think this is especially hard for science teachers to plan lessons for only forty minutes. Science involves many hands-on activities, experiments and group work. I think I would feel that I never would have enough time. Activities, experiments and group work can involve observations, the recording of data, discussions and drawing conclusions. I believe if any of these parts of the lesson are rushed your students may not get to fully understand the concepts being taught. Science today is not about memorizing facts and going through the motions of an experiment but it is about gaining an understanding of concepts and learning how to apply these concepts to other situations. A challenge to me would be able plan activities and lessons that wouldn’t be cut short or undeveloped due to time restraints.
    Another challenge I would face as a science teacher is pressure from administration to prepare my students for and have them do well on state tests. I believe that if you are teaching your students the science process skills and getting them to “own” the science content through student centered experiments and activities they will perform well. Depending on the school you teach at it can be made known to you that your class’ scores are a reflection of you that can affect your job. This does create pressure for teachers. Some schools may even require you to practice for the state test. To me this would conflict with my personal beliefs that students learn best from when they do. I don’t know if I could teach to the state test.
    The changing and updating of science theories, as much as it is the truly wonderful thing about science, still frustrates me. I am a math person. I love math and numbers because there is always an answer, there is always a way to be sure and the concepts of math will never change. Science on the other hand is completely the opposite, theories change or are updated all the time with the collection of new data or discoveries. Also in science generally, the teacher has less control on the outcome of the lesson. I am big on preparation and organization. It would definitely take me a while to get use to the fact that when students work on activities or an experiment’s outcomes can vary from the way you originally thought it would. Science can be very unpredictable.
    Although teaching science has many challenges it also has many rewards. Science teachers get students to learn process skills that they will apply to various situations throughout their lives. Science teachers get to see their students come alive when they are allowed to be creative and think out of the box. Science teachers reach the ultimate goal of any teacher: to prepare students with skills to use throughout their lives.

  2. Sophia Kossaris
    Ed 7136

    Being a pre-service teacher, which plans to enter the classroom this upcoming school year, I think it is a great time to reflect and understand what my fears may be in teaching the subject. As a student, I never really had a fun experience of science. All my science teachers utilized the textbook solely and memorize every fact there was to memorize. This made me very disinterested in the subject, which in return made me weak in science. Having had a fear for science as a student, I sometimes fear teaching the subject. Most of these fears however don’t stem from me knowing the content (since we can always learn the content which we do not completely understand), but rather in the presentation of the subject.

    As a teacher, I want to present every subject in a way which interests them and which sparks their curiosity to learn more. I personally feel that I can do this, however, for me it is easier to do it with other subjects more than I can do it with science. Although I see and understand that science is a subject in which students can be and should be actively engaged in, I still don’t know many ways in which I can do this. In essence, I feel that I don’t know many activities which I could have my students complete. After our class discussions and readings, I also now see that throwing any activity which exemplifies a certain phenomenon is not enough. We have to incorporate activities which show the phenomenon, but also one which sparks the imagination and curiosity of the students (an inquiry activity). For me once again, coming up with an activity may be a challenge.

    Secondly, another challenge which I think I may have in teaching science is that I am not very familiar with scientific manipulatives. Certainly, as we discussed during our last class it is great as we can use household materials, or other simple materials such as vegetables, regular flashlights etc. as materials for an activity or a lesson. However, I also want to know how to use other classroom manipulatives and incorporate those into my lesson. By having those in the classroom, it may make it easier than having students bring in items that they may forget. Also by having manipulatives in class, we can set up a great science center in the classroom, which students can utilize or learn more about a topic that interests them. Although many textbook kits do come with actual manipulatives and instructions in how to use them, it is not always beneficial or relevant to use them the way they tell you to do so.

    Another thing that worries me somewhat is that I do not want to teach solely using a textbook, nor using only activities; I plan to use cross curriculum teaching in the future. Having said this, other than being unfamiliar with science manipulatives, I also don’t know of what literature I can integrate with the different scientific topics/ concepts. I think having students read (outside of their textbooks) also has them engaged, in a different way, in their understanding of a specific topic.

    Looking back on the challenges I feel I may face in teaching science it looks as if all my “fears” stem from the inexperience of teaching the subject. I think that once I get into the classroom and start to teach and once I collaborate with my future coworkers and gain their insight I will be more comfortable in utilizing different literature, manipulatives and activities to have the students engaged in their learning process. I think the important thing for me is that I am willing to learn from other people and research ways in which I can make science fun for my students.

  3. Teaching science can reap both challenges and rewards. It takes a lot of practice to be an effective science teacher. There are many challenges that teachers may face when teaching science. The biggest challenges that I feel are present are timing, creating inquiry-based learning activities, and assessment. These three challenges are fairly common among first year science teachers. In my opinion, it’s all about practice and trial and error when it comes to overcoming these challenges.
    Timing is a problem that teachers of all subjects tend to face, although it seems to be the biggest problem for science. This is because science often involves a lot of experimentation and hands on activities. There simply doesn’t seem to be enough time in a 40 minute lesson to teach everything that needs to be taught. Plus, with all of the high stakes testing, time also needs to be devoted to test prep. As a teacher, how could I possibly have enough time to give my students the opportunity to participate in student centered inquiry based activities, while also preparing them for state tests? Also, when it comes to science, nothing can be cut short. Following the scientific theory can be a very tedious process. Developing a hypothesis, recording observations, and creating a conclusion, for example, can take a lot of time and thought, and should not be rushed. Timing is a huge challenge I expect to face during my first year of teaching. I only hope that I can manage classroom time so that my students learning doesn’t get cut short.
    Another big challenge that I foresee is the creation of inquiry-based learning activities. Science class should involve experiments and hands on activities. In order to create different experiments and activities, I’m going to need lots of resources which can get pricey. I also have to make sure that all of my activities and experiments are safe for the students. It’s important to create safe activities, and also monitor the students as they are participating in an activity. I myself am not a science person, so I would also imagine it would be very difficult for me to create different activities on my own. Plus, I am used to a more teacher-directed approach to learning. It is going to take time and practice for me to make learning more student centered.
    The last challenge that I expect to encounter is assessment. How do I effectively assess whether or not my students learned everything they should have? When it comes to science, assessment is much more than just test scores. Students need to be assessed on a number of different scales. I would need to observe the way the students engage in activities, while also looking at their journals, test scores, concept maps, etc., to check for understanding. How do I incorporate all of this into one final grade? I was talking to a science teacher I observed the other day and she was telling me how assessment is the hardest part of her job. She has over a hundred students and each student needs to be assessed on different measures. They need to be assessed with their participation during the activity, their written work, and the way they present their information to the class, for example. You also want to make sure that you’re making a clear and effective rubric so that every student is being assessed fairly.
    When it comes to teaching science, there seems to be a number of different challenges that I encounter. Challenges, however, can be expected in any kind of job. I can only hope that the benefits of teaching science outweigh the challenges I will face. With experience and the continuation of learning, I feel that I can overcome any challenge that I am faced with.

  4. I look forward to being a Math and Science teacher when I complete my graduate studies. Some of the challenges I anticipate while teaching include being able to complete the assigned curriculum on time. With the increased pressure teachers’ face on ensuring high test scores, I am worried that I may not be able to complete covering all required mastery material on time. With current performance trends of American students on comparative international assessments in mathematics and science are declining especially in elementary school. I am aware the pressure will be very high to produce students who are competitive globally.
    Another challenge I am curious how I will overcome will be to complete lessons on time. I tend to be detail oriented and at times time does not allow. I am very concerned on how I will be able to contain my lessons and finish on time.
    Using language that is age appropriate is another challenge that I anticipate as a science teacher. I have never taught science but I have an understanding of what the subject area entails especially life science. My fear is that I may use a lot of jargon that students may not be able to understand.
    My science classes had a lot of experiments. I look forward to providing this experience to my students. However, I am not sure if I will be provided with an opportunity within my school district to carry out experiments which will help my students discover ideas as they learn.
    These are challenges that I anticipate and I look forward to seeking assistance from assistant principal or dean as to how to remedy these challenges. Teaching requires practice and I am confident as I continue teaching I will improve my skills accordingly.

  5. National Science Teacher’s Association reported on 10/16/2006 that most teachers do not have enough time for planning and grading (65%), helping individual students (60%) or classroom instruction (34%) (http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=52753) . More recently, I have heard teachers complain that the amount of paperwork they must complete has increased so substantially that they feel the profession is no longer about teaching, but rather assessing and collecting data for city and state offices and principals.
    Also, I recently observed a science teacher who does not have a science classroom. This clearly shows lack of support for the science curriculum from the principal, particularly when other cluster teachers in the school have classrooms (i.e., art). This science teacher must store her materials in a closet and travel from classroom to classroom with her materials in bags. Her bagged materials need to be presorted and ready for each class before she arrived. In addition, there is 0 minutes between periods so she must have the class cleaned up prior to the bell so she can literally “run” to the next class. Her experiments are also limited to materials that she can actually carry. In addition, at some points during the day I observed, when she arrived, the students were still completing a prior lesson.

    I consider the above to be some of the biggest challenges in teaching science. I believe that the most significant of the above challenges, however, is when teachers (1) do not have enough time for planning or (2) gain little or no support from the principal. Coursework is then not as it should be; mostly teacher directed and little, if any, hands-on activities. This can have long-term effects on student progress and success. However, I find that, even given these challenges, students are eager to learn when teachers follow their students’ lead, not just in science, but in all content areas. It is then that students take ownership in their own work and learning takes place in a meaningful way. For example, I was recently asked to read to a group of students a book that I thought the students would have no interest in whatsoever. The book was about childhood memories and events taking place on a farm. These students were from the city-like streets of downtown Flushing. Surprisingly though, one student made a connection to the story regarding turtles in Kissena Park. Then others started to make connections like jumping over rocks is similar to playing hopscotch in the park. We had such fun with the book and we learned that similar childhood experiences can be found in different places. In the same way, science can be presented and students can make it their own if we let them take hold, challenges or not.

  6. I believe my biggest challenge in teaching science will be creating lessons that are very learner focused. With its technical jargon and complex concepts, it may be tempting to create science lessons where I have complete control. Uncertainty can be a scary thing and I will need to build confidence in myself as a teacher to let students guide their own learning. Though initially it may appear “easier” to follow a rigid lesson format, I will be doing my students a disservice. According to the reading and research I have done this semester, inquiry based lesson plans that are very learner focused help create meaningful learning. The goal is not to have children memorize facts for one test, but rather create a foundation that gets them genuinely excited about learning science and serve as a starting point for a lifetime of learning.

    Another challenge I may face is creating lessons that adequately incorporate New York State Standards. Coming from someone who has not taught before, the “Scopes and Sequences” packet we reviewed on the first day of classes is somewhat daunting. However, I believe with more practice with lesson plan creation and actual classroom experience, this skill will be developed. Like all teaching skills, it will be a trial and error process. I will not get in completely right my first year, or even my second year, but I believe everything will eventually fall into place.

  7. Kerry Wright EDU 7136
    Dr. Gillespie Reaction Paper VIII

    Science is effectively taught with hands-on activities. My greatest concern with teaching science is how to provide the activities for the students. Good scientific experiments and activities require planning, time, organization, and supplies. From my experience as a teacher the approach of hands-on activities is rewarding but also very demanding. Also, there is a great deal of curriculum to cover in science. This increases the number activities to plan.

    Planning is very important in order to have the appropriate activity for the lesson. It is helpful that many text books include activities for lessons. However, these activities my not be workable with your class. Therefore, the teacher has to use other resources to find an activity that will match the topic and chemistry of the class.

    Time is another factor with planning activities for science. The standards for the younger grades require a big part of the day be dedicated to literacy, writing and math skills. Many programs mandate a certain amount of hours to literacy and math. There are also students that are pulled out of the classroom for other services. This makes it very difficult to schedule science lessons.

    Science activities need to be set up, organized, evaluated and explained to the students.
    Teachers need supplies in the classroom and space to organize the supplies. Some classrooms are not that big and this could create a big challenge to the teacher. Also many school districts do not supply the materials needed for science activities and teachers need to spend personal money in order to have the supplies.

    I also have concerns about how to keep the students on task with classroom activities. I have a difficult time with math with manipulative. My students are continual planning with the blocks as I teach and I am concerned that they will miss important points. This also concerns me with science.

    Lastly, some students have disabilities and other students are gifted. The diversity of the average classroom creates challenge for teachers. How do you plan activities that are simple enough for some students and challenging enough for other students?

    Teaching science does have many challenges. However, teachers need to put their energy into the science lesson plans. The world and country are facing serious environmental challenges and the future of the next generation will depend on the creative scientific minds.

  8. Although teaching science has its rewards and challenges, what I consider to be my biggest concern is the amount of time it will take to creating inquiry based lessons that are interesting for student. Teaching science involves careful lesson planning as well as the setting up of hands-on activities. Teaching science is not about just having students memorize facts. It involves student’s recording observations, creating hypothesis and developing conclusion.
    I think that time will be my biggest challenge because it takes time to discover what the students are interested in before developing enthusiasm for the science lesson. Teaching science to students is not only about the science jargon and the difficult concepts. It is about connecting science to the student’s ever day life.
    I suppose that in the being it will be time consuming and difficult to create inquiry based lessons for science that are interesting to student. However I am confident that through experience I will master the skills needed to create inquiry based lessons in a timely manner.

  9. I believe my biggest challenge in teaching science will be making sure I teach the curriculum correctly. I am concerned that if I don’t teach the curriculum correctly that will result in the students’ not learning what is required. Although the scope and sequence and standards are available, I still feel like I may be inadequate in teaching science and the students may not get the material.

    This leads to another challenge that has to do with standardized test scores. With the amount of pressure that is on teachers and administrators to produce high test scores, I feel that I may not teach the concept correctly and in turn that will result in low test scores on the standardized tests.

    Another challenge is that I feel I won’t have the materials necessary to fully explain a concept to the students. I want to be able to provide the best for my students but without the proper materials, I feel I wouldn’t be able to this. I suppose I could plan the lessons way in advance to gather the materials needed, but how far in advance can you plan?

    My last concern is that I won’t have lesson plans that are interesting enough for the students. I want the students to feel engaged and really enjoy what they are learning but I feel I won’t be able to come up with activities (mainly experiments) for my lesson plans.

    I suppose that with time, I will begin to feel more comfortable with teaching science. This class has helped me to concentrate on the standards and develop lesson plans that fit the curriculum and are engaging.

  10. I do believe that teaching science presents challenges and rewards. For me, some challenges that could be presented while teaching science may be time, activities, and curriculum. Each one plays such an important part in teaching science; however each one could be out of our control.
    One challenge is that most science classes are about 45 minutes long, and that is if your class starts on time. Within those 45 minutes a great science lesson may be rushed or the teacher may do most of the work just to make sure everything is covered and completed. Also most schools (elementary) do not have science every day. This leaves the teacher with about an hour and a half to two hours a week. With vacations and holidays off, it does not leave enough time to do much.
    Another challenge for me would be the activities the children would do. After learning about inquiry based activities, I would like to incorporate into my classroom. However, these activities need a lot of preparation and experimentation. I believe that it is possible if the teacher could dedicate the time. I also believe that the teacher’s first year may be a mixture of both textbook and inquiry based activities until the teacher has gained experience and has gained a greater knowledge of the goal the teacher would like the students to achieve.
    The last challenge I may have would be about the curriculum. Each grade has a specific curriculum that needs to be followed. It would be wonderful to teach our students what they are interested in rather than what we are told to teach. There are many wonderful things just outside our doors that our students are exposed to every day. It is a shame that they hold no priority in the curriculum just because in is not on the state test and it is these state tests that guide our curriculum.
    Along with all challenges there are also many rewards. Teaching science exposes students, if done properly, to a wonderful world of thinking outside the box, following a process, challenging their ideas, and communicating them. All of these qualities are an asset for students to have in their future. I hope that many of these challenges are just for now and only at the beginning. I hope that through experience and maybe with a few changes we could achieve these wonderful rewards.

  11. The teaching profession comes with many challenges in all subject categories from metaphysics to the history of art. Although I am not teaching yet, I can gather some areas where there might be difficulties in teaching science. For starters, science is usually considered more of a complex subject that requires the instructor to explain concepts thoroughly, to invite the students into this new concept, to be able to guide them in the right direction to reach the correct result in each experiment, and mainly, to allow them to make mistakes, learn from them, and apply what they’ve learned into their future activities and experiments in science. Science is a subject that is known to be rigorous and at times, complicated, but this responsibility is in the hands of the teacher.
    The first challenge I can predict, is having all of the students working at the same pace with the teacher and the rest of the class. It is often, and through my own observations of science classes, that during an experiment, a few students will already skip ahead to the next step and sort of wait for the teacher to arrive at that step, a few students will work right on schedule with the teacher, and there are those that will fall behind, either because they do not understand what to do or because the steps in the experiment didn’t result in what was supposed to happen. This is a major challenge I have seen for teachers because it is in this part where the class itself is no longer one class, it is groups of students working at different learning levels.
    The second challenge I can predict would be the comprehension of the subject matter. Although it is rewarding to have a class excel in the field of science, teachers should follow the correct guidelines and proper lessons according to the grade level. A teacher should not try to overburden the class with material that may perhaps be a few months ahead of the students’ time.
    The third challenge I can predict is that with science, in order to have a successful experiment, the procedures must be followed closely and methodical. Several students, like some I have observed, will be playing with the resources, instead of using them in the correct manner. For example, if the child is given a cylinder of water and they have to observe a cork or small rock in the water to see the increase in volume, some children will put the rock and cork in together to play around with the experiment, when they should have followed the teacher’s directions. It is easy for students to get distracted because science is a hands-on subject area, where there are usually a lot of materials and resources that are presented to them before the actual experimentation time has started, so the children will begin playing with the objects and therefore get distracted.
    The fourth challenge would be timing problems. Many experiments have certain procedures that can take longer than a standard 40 minute or 1 hour session. As mentioned above, not all students are on the exact same learning pace, so there is time needed for the teacher to explain the process several times for all the students to arrive at the end of the activity. Due to the fact that certain experiments are complex and require very specific instructions, it is difficult for the teacher to be certain that all the students understand the lesson the first time, and should allow time for mistakes and explanations along with class discussion.
    Science is a very interesting and multifaceted subject area. It is not as simple as learning facts and stories about a topic, but rather it is a subject that requires deep thought, critical analysis and determination, which can all be accomplished with the teacher having the right frame of mind. Teachers should enter into this knowing that there will be mistakes and errors along the way, but that the important thing is for their students to learn and understand their mistakes and apply their newfound experience to their future learning.

  12. Education in today’s world seems to be very intimidating for someone who has no teaching experience and is trying to get their foot in the door. Observing classes and talking with teachers has given me mixed feelings about what my rewards and struggles will be when I have the opportunity to teach.

    For example, science can be a very hard subject to teach at times and since I am not currently teaching I can foresee some struggles that I may have when I do have the opportunity to teach it. Two examples of struggles I would have during science instruction would be time, and finding effective manipulatives.

    Many people think that science is easy to teach because there are so may fun and interesting topics being studied and experimented on. What people do not understand is that finding effective teaching manipulatives is the key to effective learning. Science is a subject that is very learner focused and therefore having enough hands-on activities for the students to work with is important. Manipulatives give students a chance to explore, which in most cases helps students remember important knowledge in science and all other subject areas. My first question would be where to get good manipulatives? Also with the time constraint due to the state exams, is there enough time to use these manipulatives during science lessons? Taking time to implement these hands-on tools could take up valuable time that I could be using for important science instruction for the state exams (depending on the grade I will be teaching).

    This leads to me second struggle I may have ….. TIME. I have observed a few classrooms where teachers were rushing through science instruction to prepare students for the state science exam. There is a short period of time during the school day that I will be able to make sure my students are learning the science material and at this point I am not sure it is going to be enough. Many teachers have told me that since No Child Left Behind was enforced, teaching science has become very scripted and that the level of creativity and hands-on activities has decreased because of the lack of time. This is not very motivating for a future teacher to hear from someone in the field.

    As a result, I will have to really manage my time to teach science and make sure I have the time to implement some creativity into my lessons. This will in turn cause positive learning experiences for students and will hopefully give them a positive outlook on science. I have learned that, as a teacher, if you do not use manipulatives in your lessons, and do not manage your time properly, science will be a turn off to most students and they won’t like science during the rest of their educational career.

  13. Teaching science can have many rewards but just as many challenges as well that we do not always think about. The biggest challenges I feel I may face when teaching this subject is keeping the students interest, use of textbooks and timing. In order to ever overcome these challenges it takes practice to see what works best with my students.

    One challenge I am particularly nervous about when teaching children science is keeping their interest in the subject. Getting children to love and appreciate science is not as easy as it may seem. I do not want my students to feel bored with science and be disinterested in learning. It is my goal to create lessons that engage my students and draw curiosity. It is important to make the unit intriguing for the students to assure they are understanding, learning and having fun all at the same time.

    This brings me into my next challenge which is the use of textbooks. I do not want to feel pressured by my school district to use only textbooks in the classroom. When I was younger all of my teachers forced me to solely use the science textbook to learn. This has always been a challenging subject for me to understand because of this. Science is one of those topics you have to use hands on materials and manipulatives to fully grasp the concept of it. Technology has increased so much over the years that using the internet and other resources outside of the textbook are a good way to expand a child’s horizons as well.

    The last challenge that I may come across when teaching science is timing. Science is only forty minutes a day which is not a lot of time for a subject that requires teaching from more than the textbook. Science is a subject that requires experimenting and hands on activities. Distributing materials, setting up and explaining the procedure can already take up half of that time. It is important for students to be actively learning to understand and see the purpose of what they are doing. Observing children in action is the best way to learn what they need help with and where their strengths and weaknesses are. In order to overcome this challenge I would have to plan my unit effectively to assure I have as much time as possible to teach this subject the right way.

    There are many rewards to teaching science but at the same time we must always think about the challenges. These challenges are my worries to teaching science as a new instructor. I hope that when I begin this profession I have veteran teachers to guide me in the right path.

  14. • I believe that my biggest challenge in teaching science will be the amount of time given to teach it during the day, to help students to understand the concept. Since students have a limited time to learn new materials whether the subject is science, math or social studies. My reason for saying this, was that on my observation, I realized that the teacher had to be moving up and down to different classrooms to teach other classes science and wanted to complete the task in one session, so they could move on to another topic for the next class. Hence, she did not have enough time to realize which student comprehended the topic and who did not. Since the time was mainly spent on completing the lesson. Another thing was that the students would often use hands-on activities and ample time was not provided for her to go around to each group and to make sure that they were doing the right thing. Thus, student’s experiments could be incorrect and the teacher is not there to correct them, furthermore, they gained the wrong concept about the materials covered on that topic. For me, science should be fun, it is a very important subject, as it is all around us and students learn a lot about the world they live in, and to do so, there should be enough time to teach the students different topics, enough time to revise previous lessons taught, to ensure that students have grasp the materials effectively and enough time to begin a new lesson.
    • Another challenge I believe I may face is to write lesson plans and create hands-on activities for my students, whether they are regular students or students with learning deficiencies. I would have to make the lesson interesting and keep the students focused and aware of what is taking place in the classroom. However, I know that everything takes time and practice, and overall, science is not a difficult subject to teach when you have put your heart and energy in it. Science takes a lot of time, to create, observe, plan, organize, evaluate and explain the methods. So even though it can be complicated at times, there is always a solution for a problem. Hence, it would be my responsibility to make it fun, exciting and a learning experience for my students. There are always science books and other resources provided to help teachers to understand materials that will further help them to relate to the class, and as I grow into the field of teaching and develop the concept of teaching my students science, I know that the standards and way of teaching will become effortless for me.

  15. I think for many elementary teachers in the US, the big challenge is getting to actually teach science. Sadly, much of it is being pushed out of the way by greater emphasis on improving test scores in reading and math. Many elementary schools focus on the basics of reading and math, and other subjects like social studies and science get shortchanged. That is a major challenge! One way to overcome that is to integrate science and social studies into the reading and math curriculum.

    With that limited time, trying to hit all the state science benchmarks in one year can be difficult, and you are caught between whether you should reteach a skill the students didn’t really master, or “skim” and hope for the best. Also, if you are doing hands-on activities they take more time. Do you want your students to have the deeper, long-term recall ability for fewer benchmarks, or a vague recognition of many benchmarks?

    Assessment can be a big challenge when doing hands-on science activities. How can you be sure all the kids got what they should have gotten out of all of that? Learning journals/lab notebooks turn out to be crucial here. They also give kids a chance to practice important skills like writing, describing, and summarizing.

    One of the great things about teaching science to elementary students: They don’t have highly developed abstract thinking skills yet. When you can SHOW them how something works, it really wows them. It helps them to develop their abstract thinking skills, and then they become more open to other ideas and begin to really expand their imaginations.

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