Science Teaching is Some Hard, but Rewarding Schist

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn”

Benjamin Franklin

There are plenty of reasons why science has such a high demand when it comes to employment. One of those is common among all fields but I feel is something that is definitely amplified in the science – it’s HARD. It’s hard to teach and it’s hard to understand. One of the biggest issues that stems from this is keeping students engaged. It’s easy to get them engaged initially, but holding that engagement throughout a class period is so difficult once our elephant toothpaste is over.

Image result for physics is just spicy math

Students come into your class maybe expecting to blow things up or something else super exciting like that – I mean, it’s science right? Instead, they get introduced to these abstract concepts like cells, vapor pressure, plate tectonics, inertia, etc. Maybe because of the degree to which science concepts are so abstract, science teachers often have to work extra hard to build understanding in their students while simultaneously working against misconceptions and keeping engagement.

As a science teacher, you’ll hear a lot of pushback:

  • “Why do we need to know this?”
  • “When am I ever going to use this?”
  • “This doesn’t make any sense!”
  • “I hate science.”
  • “I can’t remember all this stuff!”

These aren’t exclusive to science at all. But what we need to do as science teachers is let students know that science is this monolithic thing that lets us understand the world. Students don’t hate science – they hate how they’re taught science. The biggest challenge in combating these oh-so-common phrases you will inevitably hear, and holding engagement, is instilling inquiry and varying instructional practices.

Science is not rote memorization or note taking. Yeah, you have to know a lot of things to be a good scientist, but that isn’t what K-12 schooling is for. Science is full of inquiry, argumentation, experimentation, and exploration – they don’t need to know what a golgi apparatus does for adulthood but the critical thought and development of conceptual understanding that is so important in adulthood can so readily be gotten through science. Engagement is so critically important in science and all of these aforementioned practices keep students engaged. As the TQLMM might imply…

Keeping students engaged is the most critical component in building understanding.

Now obviously we have to lecture sometimes, and that’s inescapable, but we can’t be like those lame social studies teachers. Like that example in our literacy reading of the teacher that only lectured for eight minutes at a time, understand your students and their biological limitations. We have to do a lot of different things all the time to help them. And though this can take a huge toll on us emotionally and mentally, it is 100% worth it.

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2 Responses to Science Teaching is Some Hard, but Rewarding Schist

  1. chastebm says:

    Chris, this is an awesome blog post! I loved all of the information that was used throughout this blog. Your pictures and memes also add a funny touch to the blog which I feel is very important. I agreed that keeping students engaged is a very critical aspect of teaching! What are some things you will do to help keep every student engaged? Overall, great blog post!

  2. welshkm says:

    Chris, I really enjoyed reading your post! One of my favorite things that you mentioned is about all of the pushback that science teachers will get from their students. Your response is also spot on. Science shapes the world; it’s what we know.
    Teaching really is a balancing act. There are so many things that will go on at once that’s it’s easy to get caught up in it all. I think that it’s so important to try our hardest to keep students engaged as much as possible.
    When you mention only lecturing for 8 min, how would you choose what you would put in those 8 min of lecture, and what you would present through inquiry?
    Great post!

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