Creative Science Activities | Interactive Science Teacher

“Letting Go” In Your Creative Science Activities

Science demonstration- an aluminum pie pan spins above a candle. From science lesson 'Convection Engine'

Science demonstration- an aluminum pie pan spins above a candle. From science lesson ‘Convection Engine’.

To your relief, none of my creative science activities will ask you to do every thing for every student. In fact, you’’ll notice a complete shift of who does what in my creative science activities. Students, not you, are the ones doing things. Your job is to stand back and make sure people do what they’re supposed to do, and the outcomes are what they’’re supposed to be. Then you can move in with dialogue when their minds are primed and ready. This method may be uncomfortable for you at first. But the rewards are worth it.

By handing over the best part of your creative science activities to students- the demonstration- you’re showing trust. Most students will respond to this by rewarding you (and themselves) with a higher level of maturity, and now everyone’’s winning. In my creative science activities your role is to give students enough clear instruction so they know what to do. But always leave some “play” room that they can use to discover things for themselves. Having come upon something amazing with their own hands, they will naturally go further and manipulate variables, enriching the discussion even more. Now that is real science.


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Creative Science Activities Without Magic

While all of my creative science activities were designed to be purposeful and effective, they still won’’t magically teach themselves (but wouldn’’t that be nice if they did?). Teaching creative science activities is hard work, and there will never be a substitute for good preparation and your willingness to put your all into it. But the neat thing is that all that preparation will lead to something magical- the ability to connect with 30 students of varying backgrounds and ability.


What Busyness Does To Your Creative Science Activities

Do you remember the magician from Frosty The Snowman? He was “busy, busy, busy!! That describes Americans today- always in a hurry trying to accomplish more than we have time for. But things done in a hurry are seldom done well, and that includes the creative science activities we do in our classrooms as well.

Being busy is not in itself a bad thing, and having more creative science activities than we have time for should theoretically result in a better learning environment, since we should be choosing to do the strongest lessons and disregarding the weaker ones; we’ll call this natural selection of lesson plans. But sometimes science activities are done just for the sake of doing them, and if most of what we’re “teaching” our students will soon be forgotten, then what’’s the point of even doing it?

My creative science activities take a more balanced approach. They don’’t try to go all directions at once, nor is it all fluff and fun. There is terminology and concepts, but my goal is also to develop the creative and practical part of each student’s mind. Each of my creative science activities stays steadily focused on just 1 thing or theme from beginning to end. And they tend to be simple and quiet so that your students can keep a sustained thought and actually have some room left over in their minds to think creatively and to explore.


Creative Science Activities Your Students Will Buy Into

What’s the hardest part of any creative science activities? For most of us it’s capturing our students’ attention. Since worksheets usually aren’’t that breathtaking, I’ve found that a different approach works better. My creative science activities were designed to be interactive with your students- to provide a reason for them to listen as well as give you a centerpiece you can build on. An involved student will pay attention and take ownership in the activity, which fuels their interest even more. And that’’s what causes them to “buy into it”.


Realistic Creative Science Activities

I hope one thing noticeably missing from my creative science activities are the words ““easy”” and “”simple”” (I’m not a fan of exclamation points either!!!!!). Nowadays those two words tend to be overused, and in most cases they exaggerate a claim. If you’’ve ever had trouble assembling something that the directions said to just “”simply”” do, then you understand where I’m coming from.

The other reason I try to avoid the words ““easy”” and ““simple”” is that there’’s nothing particularly easy and simple about well-done creative science activities. Easy and simple creative science activities amount to giving students a worksheet or pushing “play” on the video player. Guiding a class of 30 students through a 45 minute journey through a topic in which everyone in the room learns something meaningful is actually pretty hard to do.


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