You are on page 1of 4

Strategies for Teaching Science in a Primary Classroom 1055 WORDS Exploring teaching strategies for Science lessons in the

e Primary Classroom is essential to understanding how lessons can be inclusive, challenging and motivating for all students. Teaching Strategies are the basis of the way a teacher facilitates student learning. The strategies are direct, indirect, interactive, experiential, or independent, of these indirect instruction, experimental learning, and interactive instruction will be explored and explained. The value of each discussed in regards to how they are student centred, engaging, motivating, inclusive and differential. These strategies will be discussed in regards to relevant substrands of the Australian Curriculum. It is important to keep in mind that these strategies, although discussed independently, combine well in one Science lesson.

Indirect Instruction effectively supports student learning, encouraging students involvement in the learning process. Concepts and patterns are taught in a context that emphasizes concept learning, inquiry, and problem solving, allowing students to explore and elaborate on a topic (Borich, 2006). Students question, predict, observe and make their own conclusions based on activities in the classroom, as the teacher guides the students into discovering more about the world (Borich, 2006; Houtz, 2008; Loughran, 2010). The teacher creates studentcentered learning by guiding the students to question the world around them, and learn about the nature and development of science. By creating the possibilities for students questions to arise, the content underpinning those questions is able to be focused on in ways that might lead to the development of deeper conceptual understandings (Loughran, 2010). For science sub-strand Physical Sciences, Year 6 electrical circuits, the teacher can use indirect instruction. Students use inquiry to question, solve problems, and use case studies relating to the wider world by applying knowledge (Houtz, 2008). Indirect Instruction is of value in the classroom when students are involved in the decisions and questions. Engaging and motivating, as it relates to what students want to know. This is student-centered as learning is based around what students interests, and how the topic relates to their world. The teacher guides them to choose lines of investigation ensuring elaborations are covered (Borich, 2006). Lessons are inclusive as each student can explore science at their level of understanding, and learn skills to take responsibility for their learning (Boyle, Scriven, Durning, Downes, 2011). There is high value in differentiation, lessons are integrated into various learning styles. As Keesee, 2011, wrote students are encouraged to relate what they

learn to prior knowledge, which means any background, race, gender or culture has an opportunity to learn.

Experiential learning allows students to learn by doing, rather than listening to or reading about a topic. It increases understanding and retention in comparison to methods that solely involve listening, reading, or even viewing (McNeil & Wiles as cited in Keesee, 2011). For sub-strand Physical Sciences in Year 6 students can conduct experiments, such as fixing circuit boards to make electricity flow, or take field trips to an electrical station. Active participants are young people who want to learn and are prepared to have fun doing it (Warner, 2006). Opportunity to investigate the topic in a hands on approach is studentcentered and leads to engagement and motivation to learn, and provides opportunity for deeper learning (Warner, 2006). A study showed that students enjoyed lessons most, and had positive attitudes about, when hands-on approaches were used (Murphy, Varley, Veale, 2012). Experiential Learning is inclusive when teachers adapt lessons to cater for all learning abilities (Boyle, Scriven, Durning, Downes, 2011). A student with learning disabilities can be guided to investigate a simpler question on a circuit board, another student can be challenged to fix a complicated circuit board with more components. Both learn about electricity circuits, at a level they are able to understand. Teachers need to use a differentiated approach, and a variety of strategies to adapt their lessons, catering for all students learning abilities as they all learn (Boyle, Scriven, Durning, Downes, 2011). The value for differentiation is high when adapted for all students regardless of their backgrounds, and learning abilities, as they are learning for themselves, rather than being fed information by listening or reading.

Interactive instruction relies heavily on discussion and sharing among participants. The interactive instruction strategy allows for a range of groupings and interactive methods. These may include total class discussions, small group discussions or projects, or student pairs or triads working on assignments together (Keesee, 2011). Working in-groups can provide pupils with opportunities to work collaboratively in solving problems and conducting investigations (Murphy, Varley, Veale, 2012). It is appropriate for teaching Science Inquiry Sub-strand Processing and analysing data and information, and Communicating. In Year 2 through discussion students compare observations with predictions. This is of high value for

student-centred learning environments where students are collaborating and discussing together, guided by the teacher who performs a moderating function, keeping students on topic, and providing more information where necessary (Borich, 2006). When young people learn new technology they dont look to adults for help, they tend to work with each other (Warner, 2006). Students are usually more motivated when they actively participate and teach one another by describing what they are doing (Keesee, 2011). For most students a full class discussion, or group work, is successful, however there are some who have low selfesteem and will not speak up through fear of being humiliated. To make this an inclusive learning method factors must be evaluated carefully, the classroom must be an inclusive learning environment which promotes acceptance, access and participation, where students feel safe, accepted and care for each other and treat each other the same regardless of background and ability (GWADET, 2004). Differentiation is of value in these situations, as all students are different and have different capabilities in communicating. Self-esteem and willing to collaborate can be increased when groups are supportive.

Understanding various teaching strategies such as indirect instruction, experiential learning and interactive instruction, is important for a teacher. Although each are of high value, each strategy can be used to teach various subjects. Each has value to the students in regards to being student-centred, engaging and motivating. All value inclusivity and differentiation in different ways. The teacher must know each student, their background, strengths, weaknesses, talents and learning abilities for any teaching method to be used well in a differentiated inclusive environment that is engaging and motivating for all students.

References Alake-Tuenter, E., Biemans, H.J.A., Tobi, H. Mulder, M. (2013). Inquiry-based science teaching competence of primary school teachers: A Delphi study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 35, 13-24. Borich, G.D. (2006). Effective Teaching Methods: Research-Based Practice, (6th ed.) Virginia: Prentice Hall.

Boyle, C., Scriven, B., Durning, S. & Downes, C. (2011). Facilitating the learning of all students: the 'professional positive' of inclusive practice in Australian primary schools. British Journal of Learning Support, 26(2), 72-78. Government of Western Australia Department of Education and Training (GWADET). (2004). Building inclusive classrooms: A guide for reflective classroom practice: The Australian Government Quality Teacher Programme. Retrieved from service/download/asset/?asset_id=1407873 Houtz, B. (2008). Teaching Science Today. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education. Keesee, G.S. (2011). Instructional Approaches. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Loughran, J. (2010). What Expert Teachers Do. Crows Nest, NS: Allen & Unwin. Murphy C., Varley J., Veale O. (2012) Id rather they did Experiments with us. Than just Talking: Irish Childrens Views of Primary School Science. Research in Science Education 42 (3), 415-438. Warner, D. (2006). Schooling for the Knowledge Era. Camberwell, VIC: ACER Press