“Creativity in science could be described as the act of putting two and two together to make five.”
– Arthur Koestler
Starting tomorrow (December 11th) I will officially be taking over the classroom for 4 whole weeks! As excited as I am, I am starting to feel nervous, anxious, you name it. As confident as I am, I do feel as if there are still aspects of being a teacher that I need to learn. But in order to learn, I need experience. This week, I am planning a fun week for my students. We are doing a scavenger hunt for polyatomic ions, bingo for naming Type I and Type II compounds as well as starting a polyatomic ions project. Sounds fun, right? Well, I do not think all of this would have been thought of if I did not bring out my creativity. But how creative can we let our students be in a science classroom?
How do we let our students be creative, when teachers are told no?
Throughout my time at Warner, the term Inquiry Based Learning has been mentioned throughout many classes I have taken so far. Inquiry based learning is a term used to describe how teachers make a lesson engaging for students. An example of an inquiry based lesson is having a lesson where students are out of their seats and moving, rather than sitting through a lecture. Although I agree that inquiry based lessons will engage our students, there are times where my colleagues and I are stuck in a hard place.
I bet your thinking “What are you talking about? You’re a science teacher, more specifically, a CHEMISTRY teacher, and you’re telling me you can’t be creative?”- unfortunately, science teachers are stuck in a hard place when it comes to doing labs. I find myself stuck when I think about labs because there are certain things students are not allowed to do, or the school does not have the tool to do it. We are told to tell our students that they can do anything that they put their mind to, but when they want to do a “cool” experiment, it is avoided completely. Now don’t get me wrong, safety is EXTREMELY important. But how are we expected to teach science when we cannot do science?
As a science teacher, I have learned that teachers need to start small in order to grow. This can be the same for creativity in the classroom. Below is a video about being creative in the classroom or any subject.
I think this video has great ideas for creativity in the classroom, but for science classrooms specifically, we must enforce how important creativity is in not only the classroom but in the nature of science.
How to encourage our students to do science:
- Emphasize safety first. We know that they want to do fun things, especially “blow stuff up”, but we cannot have fun when someone gets hurt. Safety is always important.
- Do research! See what labs are safe or listen to what your students want to do. If your students are voicing their wants in lab, then take the initiative to research a lab that could be similar. Do not shut them down immediately.
- Give your students experiments that they could do at home and talk to their parents. Student autonomy is extremely important, but is not important without creativity.
- Show them that you are listening to their wants and needs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your students wanting to do science, especially when they can’t.