Science is cool. Yes. We said it. But how to get your students on board? Here are a couple articles that will 1. give you methods and thoughts on how to approach fresh (“Don’t be afraid to push the limits. If kids have stayed with you through one level of complexity, take them to the next. “) and 2. show you some really cool videos!
Few things make a science teacher happier than hearing a child call an idea weird. If you speak fluent child (and a good science teacher does), weird doesn’t mean what it usually means—odd, off-putting. It means interesting, mystifying and deeply, deeply cool.
Keep it complex—sort of: One of the biggest mistakes teachers and scientists make is assuming that technical detail is beyond their listeners. To an extent that’s true; it’s fine to describe the way time dilates as objects accelerate, but don’t ask a lay audience to work the equations with you. But that streamlining can easily go too far. “You see teachers and scientists breaking things down to a level that they just become inaccurate,” Ouseyi says. “You want to reach an audience that’s knowledgeable and up to date.” And if the audience is not that way to begin with, it’s the educator’s job to get them there. “That means making things comprehensible, without dumbing them down,” he says.
But keep it simple too: Folksy beats formal and conversational beats technical every time. The best science instructors are the ones who feel the thrill and understand the wonder in what they’re teaching. Even if it’s the ten thousandth time they’ve covered the material, it’s the first time for many of the listeners. Tone, in this case, is everything. “I have an advantage,” says Oluseyi, “and that’s that I’m from rural Mississippi. I don’t have to break things down too much because that’s just the way I talk and that’s my fail safe.” But good pedagogy is hardly just about geography. “If you really understand something you should always be able to explain it,” he says.
If you are a science teacher who wants to find cool things to show the students, these are some great ideas. If you crave more inspiration, there’s a website called Science Toys that’s a great resource for demonstrating scientific principles using everyday household products.