Kids of 8 years and above can think abstractly, their creativity is starting to show, and they are more curious about the world around them than ever before. The phase when they were only thinking concretely and literally about almost every topic is now behind them. They are now able to relate with one another productively and with more purpose, and they are enjoying working in groups. Kids this age are beginning to understand their bodies and are curious to know why they look the way they do. They are now more joyful, enthusiastic, and positive towards life and education. What all these changes mean is that this is the best time to start teaching them science. And because science can be complicated for kids, you need to create a positive learning experience for your learners. Here are important steps to making science easy for kids:
1. Build a scientific attitude in kids
Most kids will have a positive attitude towards science, so your job will be to enhance that attitude and to leverage their curiousness in developing a sound scientific discipline in every child. Use their objectivity to drive scientific explanations home. Be willing to be objective in your judgment and be slow to punish the kid when they make errors, no matter how costly. Some kids could be skeptical about some science tools, so you have to help them overcome the skepticism. The kids will fail; sometimes they will do well, so you have to help them develop a positive approach toward failure. Help them get the most out of their group activities. You will also help the kids to develop a positive attitude toward science by agreeing to be their role model. Readily share your own enthusiasm for science as a discipline. As you teach them about environmental conservation, let them see you conserving the environment and putting your lessons to practice.
2. Replace concrete concepts with abstract concepts
As we mentioned earlier, the kids start to think logically and abstractly at the age of 8. They can, for example, understand basic scientific steps such as handling chemicals in an experiment. They can handle multiple variables at once, either as a group or individually. So, instead of giving them concrete data, it is best that you let them source for and analyze the data themselves. Allow them to handle more hands-on experiments and discover the “why” behind every concept they learned in elementary school or that they have observed at home. However, if the child is experiencing some speech problems, make sure to offer him/her speech therapy, and work slowly with him/her so that they can understand the concepts and be able to speak them out smoothly.
3. Leverage field trips
Take the kids to plantations, farmers’ markets, and garages near you. Science is all around us- there is always something new to learn in almost every imaginable field. Let the kids learn how their favorite juice is made, or why car motors produce smoke. Take them to the woods and let them identify different species of insects, birds, and insects. While there, explain the adaptation
of different living things in a language the kids will fathom. Make them dig up root systems and help them to label different parts. Explain how the plants “eat” and how different animals choose their food. Take them to agricultural shows and encourage them to ask questions. Allow them to take part in local cleaning exercises and ask questions about environmental conservation.
4. Be clever with the vocabulary
Heavy scientific jargon will cause your students to tune out and hate science. Ignoring the jargon completely, on other words, might lead to future problems. You need to ensure that a word means something to the kids; that they can relate it to something they interact with regularly. If they can wrap their minds around a word, they will forget it almost instantly and move on without caring to interact with it any further. Aim at creating a strong scientific foundation without jeopardizing the kids’ ability to progress in grasping the material. Encourage them to think, reason, and draw conclusions in a scientific manner, even when they can’t remember the jargon. They will learn to communicate effectively using the jargon as they advance scientifically.
The key to learning science is to retain as much information as possible and to be curious to understand the world we live in. Your children or students need to be involved in hands-on learning activities if they are to love science going into the future.
Author: Tracy Diaz