Day 2 of the third quarter has come and gone. District wide assessments are almost over, however state standardized testing is rapidly approaching. With all the pressure to ensure students meet and exceed standards on high stakes testing, my focus during the next 20 days of instruction before the state mandated test is to foster a love of learning science.
Three years ago, I did not imagine I’d be teaching middle school science nor did I imagine watching Ted Talks for inspiration and motivation. I’m that student Tyler DeWitt describes in his Ted Talk and I needed a teacher to tell me a story.
I’m pretty transparent with my students. When they ask about my experiences, I am honest. I did not want to be a science teacher nor did I even find science enjoyable in middle school. I often was lost in a labyrinth of academic language in a science textbook. l lacked prior knowledge to make connections to my experiences and refused to see how science played a role in my daily life. I wished I could go back to art class with Mrs. Lopez or edit my narratives in writing class. As an adult learner, not only did I bomb my first university level biology course, but I was kicked out of a tutoring session because I wasn’t prepared, and had no choice, but to visit professors during office hours to revise lab reports or review assessment questions.
During all of my science experiences, I lacked the strategies to make connections, process heavy academic language, and apply what I learned to the world around me. Assigning readings, taking notes, and writing definitions did not teach me science nor does it ensure our 21st century student is learning. Through authentic learning experiences, creative stories as suggested by Tyler DeWitt, students will not only learn science concepts, but you will transform science instruction so students will find somewhere in their heart to love science (or at the very least, understand science concepts).