Introducing Exemplary Science into the Classroom

How does a teacher hook students into their classroom so that they will be remembered in 40 years? What can a teacher do to connect students to their material further than achieving the highest mark? How can students learn to interact with one another as they increase their knowledge? These questions are imperative for a teacher to solve for their classroom. Without them, the atmosphere will be dull and students will be more focused on the clock than the teacher. The answer to these questions can be found in exemplary science teaching practices that go beyond lectures and written assignments.

What are Exemplary Science Practices and Instruction?

The focus of exemplary science teaching revolves around the teacher going above and beyond to create a classroom atmosphere where the student is the focus. These practices can be seen as but are not limited to

  • Provide resources for students to create their own answer
  • Incorporate student interests as materials for class
  • Create student-lead assignments
  • Promote parent involvement in the classroom
  • Connect subject material to real-world examples
  • Alter time for assignments based on student needs

Using Inquiry-based Classrooms for Student Engagement

Inquiry-based classrooms build student engagement as they become more comfortable with the process. The general form of asking questions followed by investigations and discussions of a subject promotes a vibrant learning atmosphere while creating memories for each student.

Source: Google Images

“Teachers can bring science alive by using inquiry to link the needs, interests, and experiences of their students with the learning activities of the classroom.” p. 30

Schmidt, S. M. (2003). Learning by Doing: Teaching the Process of Inquiry. Science Scope27(1), 27–30.
Ian Schwartz walks us through one of his guided inquiry-based classroom assignments alongside interviews with his students.

Relationship as an Exemplary Teacher

A student’s relationship with their teacher is often what is remembered at the end of the year. It is vital that genuine care for students is highlighted within the classroom. One that a student will see when they are congratulated the following day during class about their game-winning shot, a snack to help them get through the day, or a word of applause after a band recital. Joe Ruhl explains his concept of care is one of the most important aspects a teacher can have in their classroom in the second half of his TED talk. Alongside this, he also talks about the kind of love that a teacher should have. Using the word agape, taken from C.S. Lewis’s book, The Four Loves, he shows the importance of this type of love in the classroom.

Left – Joe Rulh’s TED Talk.

Right – Simple definitions of the four loves from C.S. Lewis

Source: Google Images

Let’s Get Personal

Epistemology, the study of how you know what you know, is one of my favorite topics and will be at the forefront of my teaching. Part of my path to exemplary teaching will be a classroom where students understand the material further than, “It is what my teacher told me, and I just need the answer for an A.” Rather, I would have students understand a concept like hydrogen bonding concerning the partial charges of an electronegative atom and the partial positive of a hydrogen attached to another atom. In the same way, magnetism shows that there are forces of attraction that can stick two items together without having to use glue (bond) to connect two objects.

Sample image of hydrogen bonding
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica


Exemplary science teaching involves the teacher creating a class beyond a standard lecture that students will look back to in the latter years of their lives.


  1. Hi Duncan, I really enjoyed reading your blog post. This was very well written and looked at a lot of great aspects to being an exemplarary teacher. I especially enjoyed reading about the relationships of exemplary teachers. So often we focus on what a teacher is doing in regards to only the curriculum, but there is so much more depth to being exemplary. I don’t recall The Four Loves by C.W. Lewis but I will absolutely be looking into learning more about this after what I read in your post. I wonder how you see yourself as a teacher interacting with the different crossovers of the four loves.

    • Thank you for your comment! While the image was meant to just show a reference to the four loves, there are many aspects that a teacher should have. Eros, which is romantic love should NOT be part of a teacher-student relationship, but the others can be appropriate. Storge is based on the nature of a mother-child relationship, an innate type of love between familial connections. This one crosses well with agape (unconditional love) and philia (friendly love) as I would love to have a classroom atmosphere where students understand that I will always be loving towards them (something that cannot be taken away), yet I will enforce classroom expectations for the benefit of the class environment and to uphold respect for every person in the class.

  2. Hi Duncan! This was a very nice blog post that was clearly well-thought-out, nicely organized, and very creative. I enjoyed how you went into detail about the relationship between an exemplary teacher and their students, it is very important to form a genuine connection with your students and I think it has a big impact on how well your students learn in your class. Hands-on activities are a big thing when it comes to exemplary teaching, what kinds of hands-on activities do you plan on incorporating into your classroom?

    • Thank you for your comment! There are many different ways to have hands-on activities, but I would love to have many introductory activities that show a new concept in the class before the students learn it. Having an open-inquiry lab can show the principles of science much better than a slide show and can get students engaged in the classroom.

  3. Hi Duncan. I really enjoyed reading through your blog! It was great! I think the images you added really helped aid the reading. It is also very nicely organized. I think it is great how you mentioned creating a lesson that students will look back on in the later years of their lives. I would agree with this. Do you know of a topic that interests you the most for one of these lessons? Do you know how you would run one of these lessons yet?

    • Thank you for your feedback, I am glad you liked the images! I am really passionate about a large project that has students creating their own experiments to be tested over the course of a couple of months. Teaching the scientific method through a large project where students actually focus on something interesting to them while giving extensive practice on the methodology would be a great end-of-the-year project. While the details are not completely flushed out yet, I hope that the project will stem around a main theme in the content area that has been taught (student’s choice) and the following research and experimentation involves inquiry and appeals to the standards.

  4. This is an amazing post Duncan!
    It is very thought-provoking, I love the questions you opened up with, and how you talked about teach relations inside the classroom with their students, It is critical these bonds are formed. We talked a lot about this in class, hooking your students and getting them involved and interested in science on the first day, how would you do that in your class?

    • Thank you for your comment! Hooks are vital in the classroom and I believe that students would love nothing more than to explode something on day one of a class. With permission, I would invite students to experiment with different items to make volcanoes in the classroom. This is a great invitation to chemistry (if this is the class’s subject) and the reactions that different compounds have with each other. Alongside this, it allows for creativity and competition as the students try to beat one another with the best eruption.

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