There’s a whole subset of the self-help industry that’s dedicated to finding the right routine. And it makes sense! Routines help us unlock our creativity, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. And we know that a lot of early-childhood education teachers have stress about teaching science! How to master great science lessons?
So, we’re here to help you build a science lesson routine that will get your students engaged and loving science.
- Get in the role. Our founder’s research shows that students show the most growth not when they do science, but when they become scientists. This means that they assume the role of a scientist and take on a science identity. In our lessons, this is often done by putting on a lab coat or spinning in a circle, but it can be any regular routine that you use to change the situation to indicate to the children that they’re scientists for the next 30-60 minutes.
- Introduce the situation. We’re doing science now, so it’s time to talk about the problem that we’re investigating. Our lessons revolve around the problems that a robot has, and how our other story characters and the students can help him. This introduction helps our students understand what’s at stake in the lesson, and the story-based framing helps them approach the lesson with a “How can I help?” mindset, rather than a “What’s the right answer?” mindset. Even as adults, we often focus too much on the latter, when striving for the former would yield better results. Even a small story about why you’re doing the activity that you’re doing will help engage the students. Children are naturally empathetic, and will be quicker to use independent and critical thinking skills if they’re helping a character or friend, rather than just doing what’s next.
- Time for research. Or, more commonly, the experiments. We’ve set out the problem, and now we’re doing research about how to solve our friend’s predicament. The most important part is that to challenge your learners to grow new skills and abilities, not necessarily rush to the right answer. Imagine that: the process of trying to help is more important than getting to the right answer quickly! With young learners, we’re more interested in growing skills and capabilities than arriving to the right answer as quickly as possible.
- Scientist’s report! Nearly all science skills (observation, measurement, etc.) are applicable to other areas of life, but none more so than communication. This is where the child communicates their findings, and hopefully they’ve found the solution to the problem that we posed in step #2. With any luck, they’ve helped their story-friend. Perhaps as important, the teacher or parent should communicate to the student how they succeeded. Children are naturally empathetic, so it’s important that they understand how they’ve helped solve the problem posed by the story. This not only helps them understand what they’ve done, but helps grow enthusiasm for future lessons. Who doesn’t want to be helpful?!
- Close curtain. The flip side of assuming the dramatic role of science means that the show must come to an end. It’s time to take off the lab coat (or whatever you’re using) and go back to being a normal kid again. Being a scientist can be exhausting.
There you have it! Introducing this short routine to great science lessons can help not only keep the students engaged, but help reduce any anxiety that you might have about teaching science.
Got excited? Get to know Kide Science with access to ready-made lesson plans and training in our play-based pedagogy!