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Why science?

According to the Oxford dictionary, science is the intellectual and practical

activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the

physical and natural world through observation and experiment (Oxford

Dictionary). While I believe this is a very good definition of what science is, there is

so much more. Science is a process of discovery in which we connect facts to the

natural world through questioning, experimentation, observation, understanding

and reflecting on newly found knowledge. Science is the investigation of how things

work in the real world; it is ongoing, always changing, and in essence, it is limitless.

New discoveries are constantly being made; however, most of science is still a

mystery. Science takes brave people to approach it, deconstruct it and discover new

things each day. Science is the world around us. Everything we do involves science

in some way, but science cannot explain everything; not yet at least. Science

requires people to take ownership of their learning and understanding, as well as

challenge preexisting concepts and pose new theories.

Throughout my elementary and secondary schooling, science was taught

using traditional methods. Most lessons included the teacher standing at the front of

the class lecturing to us, and as a result we rarely did any experiments or group

work with our peers. In the occasion that experiments were conducted we would be

asked to follow the procedure accordingly, record our observations and create a lab

report through analysis. We never discussed what an observation was or how to

properly structure an observation. The teacher never made us discuss it further or

explain what important concepts we were to retain for future use. Essentially we
performed the task at hand so the teacher would have something to assess us on,

rather than performing the experiments for the purpose of education. When

anybody would voluntarily answer a question that was posed to the class, if the

answer was not “right” or what the teacher expected, the teacher would respond

with, “does anyone have a better answer?” This is very discouraging as a student. It

results in the student feeling as if they are incorrect and as a direct result unvalued.

Eventually they will stop answering questions and keep to themselves, which results

in huge negative effects on a student’s mental health. This is exactly what we do not

want for our students. In spite of my past experiences I found my own ways to keep

science exciting. I would research topics at home and read interesting books, which

caused my obsession with learning more. Fortunately, in my first year of university I

had a phenomenal professor who restored my passion for teaching science.

There are three goals in the science curriculum that need to be attained by

the end of the course and they are as follows:

1. To relate science to technology, society and the environment

2. To develop the skills, strategies and habits of mind required for scientific

inquiry

3. To understand the basic concepts of science

As teachers there is an obligation to address these throughout our teaching. Science

cannot be something you learn strictly from a textbook or a lecture; it needs to be

learned through doing. To teach science effectively, lessons need to be interactive.

This can be achieved through using interactive smart boards or similar technology,

group and peer discussions, experiments and investigations, as well as physical
demonstrations (using bodies to show a concept, such as the formation and

breaking of molecules in a chemistry unit). To teach science and get students

interested in it, teachers need to draw in as many world connections as possible. If

students can understand why it is important that they learn something because it is

relative to their life, they are more likely to remember it. There are two approaches

to teaching a concept. Either you can introduce the concepts and then demonstrate

how they work, or the reverse; you can demonstrate something and then explain

how it works. The second way can prove to be more effective for the students, as

they are forced to examine the experiment and figure out why something happened

using scientific language and inquiry. This way, the students are more likely to

remember the concepts, instead of regurgitating information for a final test. While a

teacher can choose the method in which they want to teach, they must address the

fundamental concepts of science through all avenues of science; matter, energy,

systems and interactions, structure and function, sustainability and stewardship, as

well as change and continuity. A teacher should teach science as if the world can be

changed with it.

Regardless of the grade or level that is being taught, there will always be

students who dislike science for a multitude of different reasons. These can include,

but are not limited to, a fear of being wrong, a teacher who did not believe in them,

someone who put them down or told them they are not good enough or for some

other reason. It is still the responsibility of the teacher to teach them, and personally

I believe it is the role of the teacher to show that science is exciting, interesting and
definitely worthwhile to learn. While it is easy enough to say, it is much more

difficult to do. To instill these values in the students a teacher must

1. Create an inviting atmosphere where the students feel safe

2. Create an inclusive classroom where every opinion and answer is free from

judgment

3. Use a variety of teaching methods to teach topics so that everyone can learn

equally, as everyone learns differently

4. Create interactive lessons that use a variety of technologies

5. Approach topics with a positive and encouraging attitude

In conclusion, everyone has had different experiences in their lives that will

shape who they are as a teacher. It is important that we remember how we

persevered through those experiences and became the people we are today, with a

love for science. As a teacher, we need to assess each class and each student to figure

out the strengths and weaknesses and as well as how to properly address them

through different teaching styles and techniques so that every student benefits. I

aim to inspire and instill core scientific values into each of my students through as

many avenues as possible.

Works Cited
Oxford Living Dictionaries . (n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2017, from
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/

The Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 and 10 Science. (2008). Retrieved September 16,
2017, from
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/secondary/science910_2008.pdf