The Provisions of Exemplary Science Teaching

Exemplary means ” serving as a desirable model; representing the best of its kind”. So knowing what exemplary means and applying this to the basis of scientific teaching we can better understand how the two correlate.

I feel that exemplary teaching is

  • Being adaptive to individual student’s needs
  • Going outside of lecture based learning and providing opportunities for inquiry based learning
  • Having participation from all students that lead to scientific argument
  • Going above and beyond to put forth that extra effort that the students pick up on

Exemplary learning can be seen in the classroom by the atmosphere that is derived from it. If students are actively engaging in thoughts and ideas with one another, this is learning at its finest. The students should be actively thinking scientifically through the steps they perform in class. Participation and discussion are some of the ways we can visualize exemplary science learning.

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As a science teacher, I will take many steps to make sure I am exemplary. The first thing is I will be open to change. I think this is important for teachers because the methods of teaching are in constant motion. Some things work for some kids and some things don’t. Being open to change and new ideas is important as a science teacher. This same principle applies to the actual scientific field. Science is constantly changing as we have seen in the recent pandemic. If we stuck with the first results from the CDC about COVID19, we would have never been able to grow our understanding of the virus and be where we are at today.

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Another step I will take as an exemplary science teacher is to promote inquiry-based learning in my classroom. The old method of lecture-based learning that I grew up on, doesn’t prepare students scientifically. I can relate to this due to my personal experiences with this type of learning. It was more just memorize these vocab words and you will understand science. I have learned now that science is much more than memorizing the parts of a cell. Science is a mindset that through inquiry-based learning can grow to better educate students. This will be the learning that is provided in my classrooms since this is how I feel students learn to truly think scientifically.

Here is a ted talk that I enjoyed listening to and I feel that it’s very beneficial for new educators

Using these steps I stated, I feel that teachers can become exemplary when they put forth the effort. Teaching shouldn’t be an easy job. As a teacher, we should push ourselves every day to do better and become better for our students. Throughout our careers, we should continue our education and try new things in our classrooms. This is what makes a teacher exemplary.

Activities in class are the way we can deliver this inquiry-based learning to our students. Activities in class need to emphasize cooperative learning in a way that includes everyone while not pushing students out of their comfort zones. As teachers, this participation is how we can let our students open up their minds and start thinking scientifically.

For example,

Lesson Plan: Teach Students Why Global Warming Occurs

Curriculum: Global warming occurs because of an increase in fossil fuel consumption and ozone layer build-up (greenhouse effect).

Activity: Break up into groups of 4 and have 3 of the kids each pick two cards out of a stack of 6. Each card will have a clue relating to the scientific curriculum stated above. The kids then have to tell the other students what their clues are. Then the fourth student must draw a poster using the group’s clues on what the group thinks is the answer to the question (why does global warming occur?).

Breakdown: So how is the activity above considered inquiry-based learning and makes the teacher an exemplary teacher? Well, the concept of why global warming occurs can be taught through lecture-based learning. A lecture could be presented and the students could write down the ideas and memorize them. This activity however changes that style by allowing for cooperative learning through inquiry. The students need each other’s help to gather all the clues. This ensures that all students participate. They must formulate what the clues mean in order to properly answer the question. This requires a deeper level of thinking which helps build these students’ scientific minds.

The clues would be structured so each one builds on another allowing for the active engagement of student conversation. This allows the students to build off each other and present their own interpretations of what the clues represent. The fourth person drawing the poster allows for the group structure to be situated. These small details in a basic activity are what make inquiry-based learning so intrinsic. Presenting this boring concept in a fun way can bring students that would otherwise shut down from lecture-based learning into engagement on the course material.

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  1. Hey Luke,
    Thanks for the insightful input. I am glad you enjoyed my post. I feel that inquiry-based learning is very important to incorporate into our teaching styles when we become educators. Giving students a sense of dependence and leadership will give them the confidence to grow as a student. I would use the changing nature of science in my lessons by showing students that learning is a process. It takes multiple steps to formulate solutions and this is a process that will be encouraged in class and lessons. I think that as teachers we should be pushing to promote the scientific process in the learning process of our students.
    Thank you !

  2. Hey Anthony ,
    Thank you for the compliments about my post. I am glad you enjoyed it and got something to take away from it. I think that going back to my first point, some ways that I could incorporate the changing nature of science in my lesson is by showing students that science is a process. I would allow them to make mistakes but show them the proper way to correct those mistakes and learn from them. I would incorporate this into my activity by making challenges that students can learn from on the process to the final product. I think this is crucial to develop students into strong students.
    Thank you!

  3. Hey Michael,
    Thank you for the honest feedback! I can see your point about how broadening horizons can be detrimental. The way that I would combat this would give more freedom to the students to allow them to control the way they learned. I think that students will perform in the way they know best which is key to their education. Each student is unique so this is very important for a more personalized style of education. I enjoyed the question you proposed and it let me think about this post from a different perspective.
    Thanks !

  4. Hey Steven,

    I think that your post here is great and how you care so much about being an exemplary teacher. I agree with you that as teachers it shouldn’t be an easy job and that we need to constantly be rethinking our lesson plans. Which was great that you laid out a detailed lesson for us. I just want to ask what would you do in the situation that this pushes kids out of their comfort zone too quickly? How would you modify the lesson so that students can show off their abilities rather than feel crushed by the challenge?

  5. Hi Steven!
    I think it is incredible that you have a lesson plan outline laid out for us here, and it’s evident that you care a lot about your future as an educator. I find it comforting to know that you’re not going to rush kids out of their comfort zones, but I feel that too much hesitancy to broaden their horizons can be detrimental. Do you have a plan or opinion for how to encourage students to try new things or be open to new ideas?

  6. Hey Steven!
    I really enjoyed reading your blog and your insightful comments about exemplary science teaching. I appreciate that you discussed how subject to change science is, and covid is a great example. I also thought you activity that you described was a great example of inquiry-based learning as well as collaborative learning. I think that giving each student their own roles and fostering interdependence will lead to a great lesson and growth in each student. Going back to your first point, what are some ways that you could use the changing nature of science in your lessons? How could you incorporate it into activities?

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