Make Science Fun Again

Minds in Bloom is pleased to welcome guest blogger, Amy Brown! Amy is the author of the Science Stuff blog.  Amy has 27 years of teaching experience in high school biology, chemistry, and AP biology.  Her blog is about ways to make your class more engaging and exciting for the students.

Make science fun for students. It should not be all about reading from the textbook and answering questions. Instead, science class should be made up of fun and informative lab experiments with the occasional lecture sprinkled in here and there. You might find your students' test scores improving when you do this!

My normal teaching schedule is Advanced Placement (AP) Biology.  This year I am teaching a Biology I class filled with standard students.  Unfortunately, they have not always had the best teachers in the school.  They came to me dreading another year of sitting in a science class.  I came to them dreading having to teach a class that I had not taught in many, many years.

 

But… I love biology, and I love to teach!

 

I quickly discovered that I could make a difference to these kids and that I could get them excited about Biology.

 

Bless their hearts, but on the first day they were expecting me to say, “Open your book and copy the vocab.”  “Complete this worksheet.”  “Read pages 6 – 10 and answer the questions at the end of the section.”  When I did none of these, they perked up a little!  Instead of saying, “Open your book,” I said, “Let’s go to the lab!”

 

Why did science teachers stop making science fun?  Experiments make science come alive for these students!  The simplest thing (like growing a plant) gets the students excited.  In my class we grow plants, we extract DNA from cells, we collect pond water and identify the protists, we see who can roll their tongue and who cannot, and we even do a lab with ferns where the students can watch sperm cells swim to an egg cell.  The simplest thing often becomes amazing.  Now my students love science.  When they come to class and I have a lecture prepared, they are content listening to the lecture because they know the next day might contain a fun experiment.

 

So now we have reached springtime – the time of the year where teachers across the country have only one thing on their mind:  End-of-course standardized tests!

 

It doesn’t matter what state you live in, or by what name they are called, they are the same.  They are standardized tests.  Every teacher feels the pressure.  It seems that nobody cares if you make your class fun and exciting….JUST GET GOOD TEST SCORES!  Please teachers, don’t fall into the testing trap!  Keep your class fun, engaging, and exciting, and the test scores will probably be better than ever!

Find links to FREE products for fun science activities for both middle school and high school at Science Stuff.  You can also follow Science Stuff on TpT by visiting Amy Brown’s TeachersPayTeachers store.
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