Revitalizing Science Teaching

STEM - science, technology, engineering, mathematics


Exemplary Science Teaching

Standardized education is an experience most people in the United States can recall. Eight hours a day, spent in a building where you are expected to memorize and regurgitate information. By the time students have made it to high school, the curiosity and excitement they had for learning as elementary students has been extinguished – they are only trying to graduate and make it through the system. Teachers often begin to lose their spark as well, teaching to the standards so their students will perform well on standardized tests. However, this is not learning. Teachers and parents alike can agree that they want the best for their students, but the standard way of teaching isn’t cutting it. Creating bonds with students and making memorable classrooms is key to truly educating students, especially in science. It is easy to get caught up in the scientific jargon, but science is not all about memorizing vocabulary and cycles. So how can we change this as future educators? 

Becoming an Exemplary Science Teacher 

Teaching science can be so much more than having students routinely do worksheets and labs. How about allowing students to explore their curiosities? Or creating an atmosphere that students look forward to? 

What is an Exemplary Teacher?

An exemplary teacher is someone who can captivate students past what their next grade is. A teacher who can connect with students in ways that matter more than a report card and encourage genuine learning and care.

Memorable Science Inquiry Activities

Scientific Debates

This activity may sometimes be referred to as a class debate or classroom court. In these projects, students would choose a topic of scientific debate and defend it against another group with scientific research. This would make students use critical thinking and problem solving skills as well as teach them how actual science research is done. This educates students on how science is authentically done. 

Class Pets

A class pet can be a great way to engage students in scientific observation. Say for example, you got caterpillar eggs and watched the life cycle of a butterfly from the start. This would give students a real-life opportunity to witness metamorphosis as well as encourage them to make observations as the critter grows. 

Crime Investigation

Setting up a fake crime scene in your class is an excellent opportunity to get your students using critical thinking skills. The students are given a problem with only the facts in front of them. Given the rise of people interested in true crime, this also may be a topic of interest for students. They would need to use observational skills and argumentation to be able to solve the mystery following closely in how science is conducted. 

How do I plan to become an Exemplary Teacher? 

With Inquiry based learning I hope to create an exciting class where students feel free to share their thoughts about science and are encouraged to be curious. I want to connect with my students emotionally, I care deeply about who they are, their hobbies, family, and interests. I believe real life examples, hands-on activities, and discussion is crucial to teaching science and leaves a deeper impact than the science classrooms I have experienced. My biggest goal as of now is obtaining a class pet in the future. My hope is to connect my lessons to my students and have them look forward to science everyday.

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  1. Hi Jack, what a thoughtful post on your gains from learning about exemplary teaching. I especially love the class pet initiative that you hope to take on. I did not have many class pets growing up, but my 7th grade science teacher had 2 big tanks; one filled with salt water fish, and the other had two turtles. They were for the marine biology class he taught, but it was still so nice to have them in the classroom as something to watch and observe and ask questions about. I honestly had not really thought about trying to have a class pet, but it is something that I have begun to think more closely about. I am wondering what you see as being the biggest challenges to having a pet in the classroom.

  2. Hello Jack. Great blog! I really enjoyed reading through what you had to say about this topic. I think this is well organized. I enjoyed viewing the images you included throughout the post as well. I liked how you added an introduction kind of paragraph. I think that this really catches the reader’s attention. I liked how you included an example such as the classroom debates. Do you know what you would debate in your classroom? How would you know if the debate is effective or not?

  3. Hey Jack, wonderful post. I loved the different activities that you mentioned which could be performed in a memorable class. I believe that the crime zone activity would be a major hit as a teaching experience and an activity that will gather student interest. Diving further into the activity, do you believe it would be beneficial for students to have a write-up after the assignment? Somewhat like a case file that they are responsible for as they collect evidence and draw a conclusion with supported research material. I believe that it could add to the activity if implemented properly but would love to hear your thoughts!

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