Exemplary Science Teaching? How do we know we are looking at it?

Everyone has had good and bad teachers throughout their academic career. Think back to your old science teachers. What stands out about your time in their class? Was is the number of times you sat quietly and did questions from the book? Or was it when the class designed rockets from plastic bottles and went to the football field to shoot them into the sky and calculated the height of rocket’s path? The answers to these questions distinguish the difference between good science teaching and exemplary. In other words, a teacher who goes above and beyond so his or her students can too.

Exemplary science teachers in my mind are the teachers whose lessons are still remembered by their students years from graduate. These teachers go above and beyond making sure each and every student is engaged and participating in the material being presented. This is how we know we are seeing exemplary teaching, it is when we as teachers are pushing our students to think critically and dive into the scientific method. We can do this by taking a step back and asking: are my students going to enjoy this? Making science fun and inviting is the KEY to being an exemplary teacher.

Here is a blog that had many different in class activities for environmental science. When you look at these activities what do they have in common? THEY ARE ALL HANDS ON!!! These activities all force students in interact with the concepts they are studying in a fun and exciting way.


Take Mr. Clarke below. Yes, I know it is a silly meme from the Netflix Show, Stranger Things, but he is a wonderful example of an exemplary teacher, he constantly supports his students questions no matter how outlandish and he always pushes them to think outside the box. While Mr. Clarke is fiction, he is an example of what kid of teacher I strive to be. The type of science teacher who engages with students constant even outside the classroom and encourages them to ask questions and develop their own hypothesis and experiments to test on their own.

Overall, being an exemplary teacher is about trying to connect with your kids. It’s important to remember while you may find the material fascinating, your students may not. It is your job to change their minds. This is how I hope to run my classroom, by making science fun by connecting the material to the students own interests. Do you have a student who like video games? Find a virus and bacteria game! Do you have a wonderfully gifted artist? Ask them to draw the DNA structure! It’s all about connecting with your students.

Here is a wonderful Ted Talk by Tyler DeWitt discussing why many teachers loose their students’ interest in science and how to fix it.:


  1. Hi Aaron!
    Thanks for the feedback! I love when people notice my passion for teaching science! I truly hope that this passion shows up in my classroom as well. In order to keep this same authenticity, I need to be very expressive and energetic in my teaching. The more theatrical I am the more the students will pick up on my passion. I think it’s also important to have my room as a representation of how I feel about teaching and science. Lots of posters, pictures of unique scientists and interactive displays can help convey to my students my love for learning and my love of science.

  2. Hi Natalie!
    Thanks for your insight into my post. I always love when teachers added pop culture into the classroom. I think it shows a sense of humor which makes you more approachable. If I only could pick one activity to implement into my own classroom I would use the Forms of Energy Station lab because it would allow more than one concept to be taught as well as demonstrating similar concepts in different ways to really cement the content in the student. My second choice would be the Pumpkin Dunkin Lab just because what high schooler doesn’t want to play with mini catapult?

  3. Hi Woojin,
    Thanks for your great question and comments. Trying to connect every students own interests in a class of 30 people does seem daunting but it is doable. First, I can use my first day material get to know you sheet and determine if my students have any unique interests. I then can do my own research and find new material either online or in books that will connect the material I teach in class to their own interests. Hopefully, this will peak the students interests and spark their own investigation into other subjects they find fascinating.

  4. I enjoyed reading your post, loved the memes. I could feel your commitment to your future students while reading the post. I was wondering, Have you thought of how you might keep this same authenticity in the classroom? Like with the memes and such? I think it would be a great asset in the classroom.

  5. Great post Caitlin! I loved how you used funny memes, it really made your blog post interesting and fun to read. I agree with your idea that it is important to connect with your kids and making science fun – students will definitely open up and get excited about the materials if you show them that you are excited about it. I think linking science with the student’s own interests is definitely a great idea. How do you plan to connect with each student in your class, all with different interests and preferences?

  6. Hi Caitlin! I loved how I could see your personality come out in your blog post. All the memes and exciting statements made this post intriguing and a fun read. I enjoyed how you linked pop culture to exemplary teachers! This is a great connection that I am sure students will enjoy as well. I checked out the blog you have linked as well – great stuff! If you were to implement one of the activities listed in this post in your classroom, which would it be and why?

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