How can you get your students interested in the science lesson for the day?
Be excited about what you’re talking about. 5th graders will see through fake enthusiasm, but acting a little crazy can be a good thing! I’ve stood on chairs, sang, spoken in various accents, and boogied a little. Simply having science supplies out and in sight can do it.
^^ What not to do.
Being exited about your topic sounds like a “duh” type suggestion, but think about these two scenarios.
“Students, take out your notebooks and write the following title. We are talking today about electricity. Emanuel, can you read today’s objective for us? Thanks, Emanuel. Solutions are a special type of mixture. Blah. Blah. Blah.”
Have I done this? Yes. Is it putting forth much energy? Sometimes, depending on the day, but not really.
“Students, let’s get those notebooks ready with the title because I cannot wait to get started with today’s activity! Let’s all read the objective together in a whisper voice. Sweet! Now shoulder partners, take turns reading the objective to each other” Pour a Kool-aid packet into some water and stir. I say nothing, but the kids ask what’s up. “Oh, this old thing? I’m just making a special type of mixture.”
Now, if you’re “Jesse Spano excited” all day long through every single lesson:
1) that could be a bit overboard and exhausting, and
2) it becomes the norm and won’t engage students as much.
How can you get kids interested in what you’re going to talk about? This isn’t something I do every day, just a tool that I use from time to time. If you have a “drawer of random crap”, it will come in handy.
Ideas for Quick Engagement
- Talking about forces? Walk around with a spinning top or yo-yo.
- Learning about weathering? Put a rock in a water bottle and shake it as you walk around.
- Investigating the effects of gravity? Drop something.
- Discussing photosynthesis? Hold out a plant in the palm of your hand and look at it longingly.
- Learning about the rotation of Earth causing day and night? If you have mad skills, spin a basketball on your finger.
- Investigating the reflection of light? Throw a bouncy ball at an angle toward the wall so it bounces the other direction at the same angle.
These aren’t things that require much, if any, prep. Well, other than that whole spinning a basketball thing. I’m not remotely coordinated enough for that.
What do you do to engage students at the beginning of a lesson?