The science classroom is a place that holds its own unique and exciting atmosphere, if done correctly. It is not merely a place for sitting in a desk and taking notes, it is a space where students observe and analyze the mysteries and phenomas of our world. Unlike other classrooms, it is not just a place where students learn information and move on; instead, students are able to form their own ideas, test it and either support their idea or modify it.
Making mistakes is part of life- I believe it is important to show these mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow from. Particularly in science, it is in these mistakes that scientists learn the most and where many discoveries are made. I want my students to know this. That mistakes are not awful things to be embarrassed about, but rather building blocks to moving further in their understanding. Likewise, in science there is never an ending. Our knowledge about the universe is always changing; and, with newer technology we learn more and more about what we originally thought was true. My philosophy is that more time should be spent teaching students critical thinking and questioning skills rather than memorizing trivial facts. My goal of a teacher is to create life-long learners in all my students. By sparking students’ interests and showing them that science is everywhere, and not just in their classroom, I am preparing them for a more enriching life.
My approach to teaching science is much different from what I’ve experienced it to be- reading the textbook and answering questions. Instead of telling my students exactly how to do an experiment, in which they already know what they should get (cookbook labs), I would move to a more inquiry-based approach. This would be done with a scaffolding technique which involves providing less specific instructions and letting students investigate for themselves as much as they can. This is a much more beneficial technique and one that results in an understanding that is more than just facts; however, these inquiry skills need to be progressively taught so students will have success in this method. To add to this understanding, I believe in teaching using the 5 E’s (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate). Not only does this promote more interest, it also more easily teaches the nature of science.
I completely believe in allowing all my students to inquire about topics they take an interest to; however, from previous experience, allowing this freedom created an obstacle. The barrier I had to overcome was that every student was doing such a different project that it was hard to check-in and answer all of the students’ questions. To fix this, I had students fill out EXIT slips at the end of each class stating: how they had progressed in that class towards the completion of their project; and, if they had any questions they needed answered. This allowed me to know how all of my students were doing, as well as, clear up any frequent questions and address them as a class.
Science is something you cannot get away from. It is all around us and allows us to live. This is why science can be related to everyone’s lives. My goal is for my students to learn the skills they need to understand simple science/life principles and spark their curiosity to learn further. Science Education is not simply teaching the textbook, it involves teaching to students’ interests and abilities and moving them forward with their inquiry skills and understanding of the world around them.