For more curious minds in science

For more curious minds in science

At a young age, students are extremely inquisitive and question everything around them. As a result, it becomes easy to spark their interest in a subject like science, writes RVM Chokkalingam

There is the vital need of a scientifically literate individuals in an world which is increasingly science and technology based. As a result, the abilities of young children to learn scientific concepts gain utmost importance. To spark an inquisitive interest towards science begins in these formative years as the child is not aware of his or her need for science when they are young. The elementary school is an important time to initiate an interest in scientific inquiry and curiosity in young children.

As an interest for a particular subject begins in their elementary school years, making a subject fun helps them get interested in the subject, especially science. Elementary school primarily captures a child’s insatiable curiosity and sense of wonder. As curious and motivated students, they display excitement to learn something new, and reveal something new everyday such as how they think the world operates.

For an engaging science programme that sparks interest in children, it is necessary to determine the age-appropriate introduction of science material. Traditional science instruction is less vibrant and rarely allows students to explore, question and make discoveries. A really good elementary science programme would have a hands on approach to science that will engage the children’s minds. An inquiry based approach should be preferred instructional method for elementary science classes as it directly engages the student’s thinking, which is usually in the form of scientific investigation. Inquiry practice and hands-on experience emphasise that students need to learn from activities.

Multiple modes of learning

Kit-based science, such as cook book labs, although it is useful for students tells students what to do rather then providing insight into how the science is constructed. Their strength is that the kits motivate kids and the hands- on experience makes science more memorable. For students to learn how to do science, they need to understand roles of observation and reasoning.

As concrete thinkers, they love to tinker with things, manipulate things, watch things that move, and things that change. Multiple modes and patterns of learning science are not only inevitable but also desirable, because they paint a rich picture of meaningful learning in diverse situations.

They also make all their decisions in a quintessential open inquiry activity. It gets them to ask scientifically-based questions about objects, living things, and their natural world. They should be provided with opportunities to have a direct experience with common objects, materials, and living things in the environment. This method encourages and enhances their natural curiosity and motivation for learning and connect science to student’s everyday life.

Hardwired for science

Kids are hardwired to ask questions and seek explanations. In other words, they are hardwired for science. They ask lots of questions and it is how they learn. To engage them, inquiry can take many forms, such as describing objects, events and organisms; classifying them and doing a fair test without distorting scientific understanding. As students cannot grasp so much information on their own, teachers can make the transition gradually acting as facilitators. It is a fundamental requirement for all young children to get opportunities to experience meaningful and thoughtful instruction.

Kids have natural tendencies to explore and learn, and develop language and mathematical skills through observation, manipulation and communication. They learn to question, describe, test, explain and communicate. Their natural curiosity leads them to explore the natural world. Nature study provides a setting for the practice of observation skills, to awaken curiosity and inquiry. They naturally ask questions about objects, organisms, and events in the environment.

Field trips serve as opportunities for exploration, self-guided learning, discovery, first-hand experience, cognitive learning and affective learning. They are good ways to create interest about a subject and they expand learning by giving the student access to the real things, enhance concepts and motivate them to learn more. Nature study also helps them in engage in science outdoors. A popular practice among elementary school, just like the field trips, it is wonderful, hands-on way to learn about natural world. The connections they make all lay the foundation for their future study of sciences.

For kids just entering school, teaching computer science is about giving them the thinking skills that will help them proactive learners and citizens, in a world that is increasingly influenced by the manipulation of the digital bit. Elementary school is the place to master the basics, including literacy-in both language and technology-and numeracy. Children improve hand-eye coordination with the use of keyboard and mouse, but they also can absorb a lot about the specific subjects they are learning about.

Safe and adequate environment

Today, with constant advancement of technology, there are multiple ways as to how teachers can teach science topics to young students. The benefits of using computers and age appropriate computer software are countless. Many types of softwares are available for teachers with students in elementary school to ensure that both simple and complex scientific matters can be thoroughly explained and demonstrated. Science activities are diverse and often more difficult to supervise than other instructional activities.

The physical setting of teaching science must be safe, adequate, and appropriate. There needs to be a safe classroom environment for learning science in elementary level. Safety in the classroom depends on the wise selection of experiments, materials, resources and field experiences as well as consistent adherence to correct and safe techniques.

With a changing world, it has become obvious to shift the way science is being taught to young students. From a traditional teacher-led, lecture-driven classroom, it should change to a more proactive approach that is  hands-on/minds-on in problem-based learning environment.

This method of teaching science encapsulates the philosophy to move classroom practice beyond the isolated use of science-text books or predigested verification labs. The goal for elementary science is not to cram our kid’s heads with scientific facts and information they have little use.  Elementary-school-aged kids are our future hope in science. 

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