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Topic

8
1. 2. 3. 4.

Teaching and Learning Methods

LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this topic, you should be able to: Plan experiments effectively for the teaching and learning of scientific concepts; Describe how you can carry out discussions in your lesson effectively; Discuss how you can use simulations in your teaching; Describe how you can use projects to teach science; and Plan and organise visits to external resources effectively in order to enrich science learning.

5.

INTRODUCTION

We have now come to the last topic of this module. To begin with, let us look at Figure 8.1.

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Figure 8.1: A classroom scene Source: http://edserver1.uow.edu.au/DiveInEduc/contents/student/inschools/ malaysia.html

Figure 8.1 shows a classroom scene where the students are doing their own thing and the level of involvement in learning is low. What can you do to make students more actively engaged in learning? One of your answers might be to use a variety of teaching and learning methods which can stimulate their interest. Using different methods of teaching and learning can enhance students interest in science. Science lessons that are not interesting will not motivate students to learn and this will affect their performance. This topic will enable you to explore teaching and learning methods such as experiments, discussions, simulations, projects and visits and see how they can be used to enhance learning of science. Each of these methods will be discussed in terms of its general concepts and how they can effectively be used in the teaching and learning of science.

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ACTIVITY 8.1
1. 2. What do you understand by the term teaching methods? Can you think of some teaching methods that you can use for your science lessons? Discuss with your coursemates.

8.1

EXPERIMENTS

Children in primary school learn best through firsthand experiences. Thus, experiments play a central role in learning of science. What is an experiment? For an example, have you ever wondered whether brown sugar or white sugar dissolves more quickly in water? You might say white sugar but this is only a prediction which you have made based on your previous experience this is how a hypothesis is formed. An experiment are (Merriam-Webster dictionary, 2003.): (a) (b) A tentative procedure or policy. An operation or procedure carried out under controlled conditions in order to discover an unknown effect or law, to test or establish a hypothesis, or to illustrate a known law.

A hypothesis can be defined as tentative answers or untried solutions to the question or problem that is being investigated. For example, White sugar will dissolve more quickly than brown sugar. A fair test of this is an experiment. .A fair test is one in which only one variable is changed and all other variables are kept constant. Now, what are variables? Variables are factors in an experiment which can change its outcome. In an experiment, you have to determine the variables involved. This simply means taking all the factors of the experiment into account. There are three kinds of variables as shown in Table 8.1.

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Table 8.1: Variables of an Experiment Variable Manipulated Variable What shall we change? Responding Variable What are we trying to find out? Constant variable What shall we keep the same? Meaning Something that is changed in the experiment. Something that responds to the manipulated variable. Something that is kept the same throughout the experiment. Example Type of sugar Time taken to dissolve

Volume/Temperature of water

So, what do you think are the variables involved in the sugar experiment? First, look at what you are testing. Yes, it is a type of sugar (brown or white) which can dissolve quickly in water. This is known as manipulated variable. How are you checking to see (evaluating) what happens? You will observe the time taken for each type of sugar to dissolve. This is known as responding variable. At the same time, you will keep all other variables constant. In this case, the constant variables are the volume of water you use and the temperature of the water. As you can see, an experimental procedure requires a high degree of logical thinking, or according to Piaget formal thinking. Thus, it is not advisable to introduce the term hypothesis and variables to lower primary school students (Lind, 2005). However, the concept of a fair experiment can be easily understood by young children by getting them to think about variables with questions like What are we trying to find out?, What shall we change? and What shall we keep the same? Remember to provide your students with an opportunity to design their own experiments (see Figure 8.2). This is to prevent experiments from becoming recipes that are mindlessly carried out by student. Have a discussion with them to determine the hypothesis and variables involved. Let your students plan the experiments. Allow them to measure and analyse data, and eventually present the results of their own experiment themselves. You should take up the role of a facilitator and not as an information provider.

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Figure 8.2: Students should have an opportunity to design their own experiments Source: http://games.pppst.com/science.html

8.1.1

Discussion of Experimental Results

After the students have carried out the experiment, they need to discuss the results and form a conclusion. Discussion of results should be carried out by the students under your guidance. This involves two procedures: data processing and information reporting techniques. Conducting both these procedures properly brings about meaningful learning. Let us look at the details of data processing and information reporting techniques: (a) Data processing (i) Representing the data in various formats such as tables, charts and graphs. An example of how data can be presented in a table form is as shown in Table 8.2. Interpreting graphs and charts.

(ii)

(iii) Identifying the pattern of data and its relationship. (iv) Classifying the data.

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Table 8.2: An Example of a Table to Represent Data

My results table. Brown Sugar Time taken dissolve to White sugar

____________________________________________________ I found out that: __

(b) Information reporting techniques (i) (ii) Interpreting the relationship among the results, hypothesis and prediction. Explaining the results.

(iii) Making the report orally or in writing. (iv) Suggesting ways to improve or improvise the experiment or to conduct further experiments. During the discussion, you need to act as a facilitator and ensure that your students are actively involved. You will need to reinforce important concepts and facts and correct students mistakes. It is important for you to show attention and appreciation for each of the ideas expressed by your students. At the end of the discussion, remember to summarise all ideas generated during the discussion. In this way, you will ensure that the experiment is meaningful to your students.

SELF-CHECK 8.1
Your students want to know if different types of surfaces like glass and sand paper will affect the distance a trolley moves. 1. 2. 3. State an appropriate hypothesis for this experiment. Identify the manipulated, responding and constant variables. How would you present the data collected?

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ACTIVITY 8.2
Julia loves roses and has decided to grow them in her garden. She wants to know whether she is wasting money buying an expensive fertiliser when many cheaper brands are available in the market. She wonders if the expensive fertiliser will make her rose plants grow more healthy than before. How would you advise her to find out if the expensive fertiliser is better?

8.2

DISCUSSION

A discussion is an activity in which students exchange questions and opinions on a given topic and is an excellent way to engage students in thinking and analysing. It provides students with a clearer and in-depth understanding of scientific concepts. They will also be able to form opinions and attitudes about issues that are discussed. Discussions can be conducted before, during or after an activity. Here again, teachers should play the role of a facilitator and lead the discussion by asking questions that stimulate thinking. Teachers should also encourage all of the students not to be afraid in expressing themselves. We will further discuss the types of discussion that can be conducted in class in the next sub-topic.

8.2.1

Whole Class Discussions and Small Group Discussions

There are two forms of discussions that you can use in the teaching of science: whole class discussions and small group discussions. Study Table 8.3 which outlines the main principles of both types of discussions. Always remember that before beginning a discussion, it is important to make sure that students have adequate knowledge about what is to be discussed. . A discussion becomes boring when participants do not know much about the subject of discussion.

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Table 8.3: Whole Class Discussion vs Small Group Discussion Whole Class Discussions x x x x All the students in a class participate in discussion. Teacher acts as the facilitator and a source of information. Teacher controls the discussion. Teacher should encourage inquiry training as it helps students to develop skills in asking questions and drawing conclusions. Example:   Teacher shows a rusty bicycle wheel to the students. Students are asked to give opinions on why the wheel has became rusty. Students ideas can be written on the board, discussed and a conclusion can be made together. x x Small Group Discussions Students form small groups (usually four or five students in each group) to discuss a topic. Teacher moves from group to group and aids their discussion. Information through teacher-directed lessons, demonstrations, books, videos or pictures should be given to students. Students can work together and may pull their desks closer to one another in order to talk and hear one another better. Each group should have a leader who has to make sure the group stays on the topic and to ensure all students participate. A group secretary can be appointed to write down the groups ideas. At the end of the discussion, group members can prepare a report or make a presentation to the rest of the class. Groups may all discuss the same topic or different sub topics. Example:   Students are shown a video on different types of pollution. Each group discusses the ways to overcome one type of pollution.

x x

x x

Whole class discussions provide greater interaction between teacher and students. Students may stay focused on the lesson because they might be called on to answer questions.

x x

ACTIVITY 8.3
1. Study the primary science curriculum and list three topics that you can use for small group discussions in your class. What are your concerns while carrying out this method? Discuss with your tutor and coursemates.

2.

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8.3

SIMULATION

We will now move on to discuss the topic of simulation. What is simulation? A simulation is an activity which resembles an actual situation. Students take on roles and engage in activities appropriate to those roles (Slavin, 1994). Simulations can make science lessons fun and help students understand concepts more meaningfully. You can use simulations you have designed yourself or use computer programmes that show simulations for science concepts available for the teaching of science. Simulations increase students interest and motivation and allow them to learn about science in a situation which resembles the actual situation. Let us look at Figure 8.3 which shows animal masks which you can use to do simulations when teaching about animals.

Figure 8.3: Animal masks Source: http://whattheteacherwants.blogspot.com/2010/12/mitten.html

8.3.1

Types of Simulation Methods

There are three main types of simulation methods: role play, games and models. (a) Role Play In role play, students play out a particular role based on certain predetermined conditions. Students are given a situation in which they have to act as characters (human or non-human). Students try to act, feel and react according to the characters they represent. For example, if you want to reinforce your students understanding of food chains, you can carry out an activity using masks like those shown in Figure 8.3. When students take on the roles of the animals, they can learn the terms predator and prey,

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and can decide from their own experience what characteristics predators and preys have. (b) Games Games used in science teaching require the application of science knowledge and skills to win. You need to prepare rules that need to be followed when students are playing games. Examples of games are cutand-paste games, board games, puzzle games, crossword puzzles and memory games. You can also use online games to help you teach. The game as shown in Figure 8.4 cames from http://primarygames.com/science.htm

Figure 8.4: An example of a cut-and-paste game Source: http://primarygames.com/science.htm

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(c)

Models Models are used to represent objects or actual situations so that students can see these objects or situations and understand the science concepts and principles to be learned. Figure 8.5 shows the three main types of models: solid models, sectional models and moving models.

Figure 8.5: Types of models

ACTIVITY 8.4
Prepare one activity for your science classroom using one of the following types of simulations: 1. 2. 3. Role play; Games ; and Models.

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8.4

PROJECTS

A project is a learning activity that is generally undertaken by an individual or a group of pupils to achieve a particular objective or to solve a problem. A project generally requires several lessons to complete and can be carried out either inside or outside the school. The outcome of the project can either be in the form of a report or an artefact and needs to be presented to the teacher and other students. A project can be carried out according to the need of the topic taught. It can also be done according to students interests, or for a science exhibition. Projects allow students to develop their knowledge and skills in science, their thinking skills as well as communication skills. They also encourage collaboration and give an opportunity for students to show their creativity.

8.4.1

Factors to Consider while Carrying Out Projects in the Science Classroom

What are the factors you would need to consider when proposing a project to students? Study Figure 8.6 which shows the factors you needs to be considered in doing a project work in the science classroom.

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Figure 8.6: Factors to consider in doing project work in the science classroom

8.4.2

The Process of Doing a Project

In a project work, you should follow a series of steps in order to achieve the objectives that have been identified. The key steps are as shown in Figure 8.7 and should be carried out with your guidance as the teacher.

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Figure 8.7: The process of doing a project

ACTIVITY 8.5
Describe how you would carry out a project on one of the topics given below. Discuss your steps during the tutorial session. 1. 2. Growth of seedlings Recycling waste materials

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8.5

VISITS AND USE OF EXTERNAL RESOURCES

The learning of science is not limited to activities carried out in the school compound. It can be enhanced through the use of external resources such as zoos, museums, science centres, research institutes, mangrove swamps and factories. The primary purpose of these visits should be to develop and support learning. Visits to these places make the learning of science more interesting, meaningful and effective. Taking children out of school and into interesting places provides links between classroom activities and those of everyday life, in particular learning of new things that cannot be carried out in class and to see science in action (Harlan & Qualter, 2004). A visit should be fun and must make the most of the learning opportunities available. Examples of places you can take your students include (Harlan & Qualter, 2004): (a) (b) Natural locations (parks, seashores, mangrove swamps, ponds, forests, etc) where there may or may not be a formal structure for visitors. Places of work (factories, farms, supermarkets, airports, meteorological stations) where there will be someone to accompany the children as well as act as tour guide of the premise. Science museums, aquariums, planetariums, parks, zoos, wildlife centres, science and technology centres, conservation areas, where groups can be supervised by teachers with or without help from staff, but where there are usually finance and other requirements available to enable the visit to be carried out. Other locations (local landmarks, educational institutions, historic buildings, vacant land, etc.) which initially do not seem to have any connection with science but has science potential.

(c)

(d)

8.5.1

Planning a Visit or Field Trip

The key to a successful visit is preparation. There are many aspects you would need to consider when you plan a visit or field trip. First, you need to choose the place you want to visit and identify the aim of the visit. You would then need to check the schools policy regarding procedures like parental approval, transportation and arrangement with authorities at the place of visit. Study what you would need to do before, during and after a visit or field trip as shown in Table 8.4.

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Table 8.4: Things that Need to be Done when Planning a Visit Before x Check your schools policy x regarding procedures to carry out visit. Obtain necessary permission x from the people from the site of the field trip. Visit the site to find connections x to the science curriculum and to assess potential problems. You can also plan appropriate activities that can be carried out x during the visit. List specific activities available x and plan how the students will use their time. Plan what you want students to notice or investigate. Decide on the date, funding, method of transport and number of teachers needed. x Tell students the objectives of the trip and what they will be doing during the trip. Conduct a briefing session x regarding safety precautions and appropriate behaviour. Prepare all materials (e.g. x worksheets etc.) and equipment (e.g. hand lens, camera, etc.) that you would need for the visit. Write letters to parents asking for permission and describing the field trip (include the educational purpose of the trip, trip itinerary, bus arrangements, date of the trip, student cost, eating arrangements) During On the day of the trip, x remind students of the objectives of the trip. Take attendance and distribute name tags to students. Divide the class into small groups and assign a leader for each group. Discuss safety regulations. Interact with students x as in a classroom science inquiry lesson. Ensure every student x is actively involved and answer any question that arises. Provide students the opportunities for them to view the site x alone or in groups. Point out interesting features seen during the trip. Take attendance every time there is a movement from one location to another. After Carry out a postmortem session with your students to reflect on and evaluate the trip. Ask students to identify the most important or significant things they have learned from the trip. Ask students to write a report about the trip. Have the class compose and send a thankyou letter to the host of the site of field trip. Conduct appropriate follow-up activities and projects based on the visit.

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8.5.2

Virtual Field Trips

As teachers, we know that field trips can motivate and educate students. We also know they are time-consuming, difficult to organise and often affected by unpredictable weather and events. In many cases, the places we would like to visit are not those in short distance to our location. Here, the next best thing to do is to organise a virtual field trip. Virtual field trips are often better because they take you to places you could not easily go to like inside a volcano, under the ocean or into the Solar System. What is a virtual field trip? It is a guided and narrated tour of websites that have been selected by educators and arranged in a "thread" that students can follow from site to site with just the click of a button. Virtual field trips challenge and expose students to new types of technology. They are a great way to spark students interest and motivate their learning in science. In addition, virtual field trips can improve students reading skills and expose them to various cultures and environments.

SELF-CHECK 8.2
1. Discuss how you would conduct an experiment in your science classroom. Explain briefly the main features of whole class and small group discussions. Describe the three types of simulation methods. What are the reasons for implementing simulation activities in the teaching and learning of science? Give an example of a project you can carry out in your science classroom. Write down the procedures for the implementation of the project. Suggest an external resource to which you would like to take your students. List out the procedures you need to follow when carrying out the visit.

2.

3.

4.

5.

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ACTIVITY 8.6
1. Make a list of places you can visit with your students which are near your school. For each of the places you have mentioned, discuss which science content from the primary science curriculum can be incorporated into the visit. What would be some of your concerns when you organise visits or field trips for your students? Discuss with your coursemates.

2.

Teaching and learning methods such as experiments, discussions, simulations, projects and visits can be used to teach science more effectively. An experiment is a method that enable students to test hypotheses through investigations to discover specific science concepts and principles. An experiment must contain both a hypothesis and variables. A hypothesis can be described as tentative answers or untried solutions to the question or problem that is being investigated. Variables are factors in an experiment which can change the outcome of the experiment. A manipulated variable is something that is changed in the experiment. A responding variable is something that responds to the manipulated variable. A constant variable is something that is kept the same throughout the experiment. A fair test is an experiment in which only one variable is changed while all other variables are kept constant. Experimental results needs to be discussed at the end of the experiment. Discussion of experimental results involves two procedures: data processing and information reporting techniques.

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Data processing refers to how the data is presented, classified and interpreted. Information reporting techniques refers to how the results are explained and reported. A discussion is an activity in which students exchange questions and opinions on a given topic. There are two forms of discussions you can use in science teaching: wholeclass discussions and small group discussions. In whole class discussions, all the students in a class discuss an issue. In small group discussions, students form small groups to discuss a topic. A simulation is an activity which resembles an actual situation. There are three main types of simulation methods: role play, games and models. In role play, students play out a particular role based on a given task. Games that use science concepts and skills can be used in the teaching of science. Examples are cut and paste games, board games, puzzle, crossword puzzles, and memory games. Models are used to represent objects or actual situations so that students can visualise these objects or situations and understand the science concepts and principles to be learned. There are three main types of models: solid models, sectional models and moving models. A project is a learning activity that is generally undertaken by an individual or a group of pupils to achieve a particular objective or to solve a problem. The factors you would need to consider in doing a project work in the science classroom are age and ability levels of students, availibility of time and resources, mode (individual/pair/group work) and guidelines on how the report need to be presented. The steps to carry out the project are: select a topic, gather information, plan and carry out experiment/activities, analyse and interpret data and write and present report.

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Learning of science can be enhanced through visits to external resources such as zoos, museums, science centres, research institutes, mangrove swamps and factories. To optimise learning opportunities, visits need to be carefully planned. Planning must be done before, during and after a visit or field trip. This means there must be clear purpose for the visit that the children understand and, most importantly, appropriate follow-up work. A virtual field trip is a guided and narrated tour of websites that have been selected by educators.

Constant variable Discussion Experiment Fair test Games Hypothesis Manipulated variable Models Moving Models Project Responding variable

Role playing Sectional Models Simulation Simulation Small group discussions Solid Models Variables Virtual field trip Visits to external resources Whole class discussions

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Chin, L. F. (2004). Primary science project work in teaching primary science. Singapore: Pearson Education. Esler, W. K., & Esler, M. K. (2001). Teaching elementary science (8th ed.).Washington: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Harlan, W., & Qualter, Q. (2004). The Teaching of Science in Primary Schools (4th ed.). London. David Fulton Publishers. Hassard, J. (1992). Minds on science Middle and secondary school methods. USA: Harper Collins. Lind, K. K. (2005). Exploring science in early childhood (4th ed.). United States:Thomson Delmar Learning. Martin, D. J. (2006). Elementary science methods: a constructivist approach (4th ed.). United States of America: Thomson Wadsworth. Retrieved 13 July 2011. Virtual Field Trips http://campus.fortunecity.com/ newton/40/field.html Retrieved 13 July 2011. Virtual Science Museums and Exhibits for Children. http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Cultures_and_Groups/Childr en/Museums_and_Exhibits/Science/ Retrieved 13 July 2011. Virtual Zoo Field Trip http://engagetolearn.com/ ETL/virtualzoo/zoomap.htm Retrieved 17 July 2011. How to do a science project http://www.miniscience.com/How-to-do-a-scienceproject.asp?count=7 Retrieved 17 July 2011. tedrowan/primer.html Science Fair Projects http://users.rcn.com/ and activities

Retrieved 21 July 2011. Free Science games http://www.wartgames.com/themes/science.html

Retrieved 22 July 2011. Classroom Science Activities http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/pdf/education/toys_science_activ ities.pdf. Slavin, R. E. (1994). Educational psychology. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon.