It’s not always easy to get elementary school students interested in an abstract topic like science. Science is often seen as nothing more than worksheets, quizzes and the memorization of seemingly endless facts.
But what kids don’t realize is that behind all of the big words and tricky concepts is a living subject that affects everything they do. From playing soccer at recess to shopping for groceries with their parents, it’s impossible to escape it. And what’s more, in order to excel in today’s high-tech world, kids are going to need to be more science-savvy than the previous generation.
In the next decade, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs will grow by 17%. That’s three times the rate of non-STEM jobs, and with a higher rate of pay. Despite the opportunities, however, research has proven that youth are more disengaged than ever in STEM-focused classes.
So how can teachers give their students the opportunity to succeed in a scientific world?
Make science fun.
All too often, science is taught in a way that’s opposite to what it truly is. Science is about discovery. It’s about curiosity. It’s about opening our eyes to the world around us and seeing it in a new and exciting light. And yes, it’s about fun!
Fun is what makes science real. Without imaginative experimentation and the freedom to try, fail, and try again, science is just a set of known facts (and we all know that’s no fun).
But through hands-on, curriculum-based activities, kids can actually see science in motion and observe cause and effect as it plays out in the real world. This is one of the most engaging ways to learn, which means they’ll be more likely to actually remember the material and will be enthusiastic about learning more about the subject. And with this type of repeated exposure throughout the elementary school years, you’ll inspire a passion for science that’ll carry them through high school and beyond.
Science isn’t just for scientists
Not all children are destined to become marine biologists or mechanical engineers. And that’s okay, because the skills learned in class go way beyond the realm of science.
When students are engaged in scientific discovery, they’re actually learning creativity, collaboration and problem solving, and how to ask questions, make observations, analyze data and communicate their findings. These are real-world life and workplace skills that are necessary no matter what path is followed.
Creative ways to make science fun
There are a lot of things you can do in the classroom to make science enjoyable for students, but nothing is as inspiring and exciting as a flying a kite. While students are having fun outside with friends, they’ll be exploring everything from the physics of flight to the impact of weather. The topics are virtually endless, and the best part is that you can tailor them to suit all ages and interests.
Image courtesy of epSos.de.