Talking the science of science and maths

2018-06-28 06:03
godfrey mpuluGugs @60

godfrey mpuluGugs @60

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With all the new materials and substances that are manufactured, medicines that cure, technology that advances, plus all the science graduates that emerge daily, science educators tower in the background.

They could be a school teacher in a village, township, a wealthy suburb or a posh science academy.

On the first day at junior high school the 13 year-olds stand up, greet you and then just stare.

You have to set the ball rolling immediately before they could call you a “scientist”, for the white lab coat you don.

That first impression sticks with them. Are you going to amuse them, blow their minds or tickle those science fancies? You can collect points or take a back seat so as to make them more important role-players – the rulers of the science lab.

If you feel like it, give them new names, the likes of Einstein, Newton, Bohr, Archimedes and dress them with lab coats. Wow!

Its the start of a new world for them: That new textbook, a science video, a practical lesson, an invited speaker or a surprise visit, by a successful former learner, sets them on a glittery path.

You will have to make them see, enjoy and interrogate science in many ways. Talk and chalk is minimal. Ask yourself: Can they identify problems, plan problem-solving and come up with answers while you, the science teacher is in the background as the facilitator or guide?

Science can be learnt in the field, in the kitchen, in class and sometimes in the lab, practically. Teaching how planes fly is done by blowing air over a piece of paper. Some chemicals can be found at home or at a pharmacy, bought with small change.

We do need well-equipped labs for more advanced experiments. Observation, recording and analysing data is key. Take kids to the observatory, the planetarium, the oil refinery or the power station and universities.

Get their hands dirty in the garden to study nature. Find glasses for them to see eclipses of the moon and sun.

Load them with exercises and problem solving in Grade 7, 8 and 9 so that life is easier when they reach the higher grades. Teaching a little Grade 10 content in Grade 9 is possible, if you have the time.

Science and mathematics go hand in hand. They must conquer mathematics in order to glide over the science.

What else do science teachers teach? How cars work, or how the power station generator works on the same principle as the bicycle dynamo to show how electricity is powered.

How to get paraffin, petrol, diesel and gas from crude oil. To respect nature, what makes us sick and healthy, safety in our homes and climate change. You can’t leave out the industries, mining processes, safety and health dynamics.

In the midst of all this make them to enjoy, play, have fun, play games and design science puzzles.

Then take their projects to the Science Expo For Young Scientists. It may sound like a lot of work but in the end it pays off. Spot the gifted ones and know what to do with them in class. Identify the average learners and present a myriad of methods to make the content clear.

Science teachers have to learn, study and upgrade themselves. Research about new trends in science education and affiliate to professional bodies so as to liaise with your counterparts.

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