So You Want to be an Exemplary Science Teacher?

If your high school science classes were anything like mine, the only thing you’ll remember is that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell and that a binder does not make a comfortable pillow.

Student’s don’t want to sit through lectures day in, day out listening to some random teacher ramble about science. So if you want to be an exemplary science teacher, you have to make science real and tangible.

But how do you do that?

Inquiry Based Learning

This video by John Spencer breaks down what inquiry learning is, so give it a watch!

Why do we use inquiry based learning?

  • Inquiry based learning is student centered 
  • It allows students ask questions and design experiments or research to answer their questions!
  • When students guide their learning journey they’re more engaged.
  • The act of “doing science” will help students understand science concepts.

Making Science Real

When we’re sitting in the classroom for an hour listening to a lecture it’s hard to see how science is used in the real world. Helping students understand how science is used can make what they are learning more meaningful!

How do we make science real?

  • Show students how science is used in the real world!
  • Talk about experiments that scientists have performed that connect to the material students are learning!
  • How does science connect to the world outside the classroom?
  • How does what you are learning connect to what’s happening in the world right now?
  • What jobs can students have that involve stem? (It’s probably more than they think!)

Want to focus more on making science real? Check out these two articles!

This first article by Chiara Ceci looks at connecting science and everyday life. The image above is from the article and shows different ways chemistry is used in everyday life!

This image comes from a short lesson about connecting science to things students see in the world. Using what student’s already know is a great way to get them involved and making connections in science!

Connect Science To Students’ Community

Connecting science to the community the student’s live in brings science into their backyards. Ask students to identify a problem they see in their community and see what science concepts they’ve learned that can help fix the problem!

Want to go even further? Help students figure out actions they can take right now to help fix the problem!

Where do I start?

This article from STEM teaching tools is a great place to start when figuring out how to connect science to community!

And this article from Discovery Center Idaho has some examples of how science connects the community so you can get some ideas of how science can connect your community!

Why do we need exemplary science teachers?

Exemplary science teachers help students grow into scientists. Exemplary science teachers help students make connections and develop a deeper understanding of science.

Exemplary science teaching also helps teachers get a better understanding of what students know. Check out this tweet from NSTA with more information!

Where do we go from here?

Start incorporating exemplary science learning into your classrooms. Ask students to design an experiment about a question they have, help students learn about community issues and connect the issues to science, teach students about what scientists are doing right now!

Exemplary science teaching isn’t about making sure students get 100% on a multiple choice test, it’s about guiding students through their science journey. Exemplary science teachers provide resources and guidance to students as they learn, ask questions, make connections, and grow.

So, if you want to be an exemplary science teacher ask yourself this: how will you help guide your students and will you let your students guide their own learning?

Best of luck!

Ms. Brennan


  1. Hi Grace and Rachel!

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and comments. To start, I think that without exemplary science teachers we won’t have excited science learners. Especially in high school, science has a tendency to be thought of as really difficult, but with exemplary science teachers we can help students get over this misconception and learn to love science!

    As for whether inquiry is necessary in science classrooms, I believe it absolutely is. When connecting science to the world outside of the classroom, we can teach students about experiments and research, both of which are forms of inquiry. But we can take this a step further and bring inquiry into the classroom. Inquiry is a critical part of the science process, and without I’m not sure we’re really teaching students what they need to know about science. Without inquiry we miss an opportunity to get them involved and engaged with science; and if we aren’t helping are students get engaged with and excited about science are we really exemplary science teachers?

  2. Hi Ellie!
    I loved reading your blog post- it was engaging, had useful media and resources, and was very practical. I especially liked how everything you suggested as part of being an exemplary science teacher included a “how?” question that provided realistic, practical ideas that I feel could be implemented in any future science classroom. You didn’t make a suggestion without providing a starting point or ideas for teachers, which I thought was super helpful. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on inquiry-based learning, do you think incorporating inquiry is essential to every exemplary science teacher and classroom?

  3. Hello!
    This is an awesome post, and I love the way you were able to hit on many different aspects of exemplary science teaching. The Ceci article was fascinating for me because I think students can really struggle with seeing chemistry in real life, especially when compared to other subjects. It was a good reminder that I am not the one who has to pull these connections straight from my brain at all times- many other people have already documented those connections, and reaching into science news is a great way to show my students that chemistry is “real”. Do you think there are any other reasons that we need exemplary science teachers? I like that you included a section on that and I am interested to learn/think about it more!

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