Science is an incredibly broad subject, offering multiple career opportunities in a variety of fields. Whether a child’s passion lies in cosmetic production or wildlife conservation, science can cater for a number of professions. Thus, by choosing a broader science degree (e.g. biology) there is flexibility should a pupil’s career aspirations change once in higher education.
However in January 2013, it was found that the numbers of students graduating with Science degrees was 39%, significantly lower than the percentage recorded four years ago; calling for efforts to be made in combatting this issue. For by re-enthusing the younger generations, we can ensure that scientific research and technology continues to flourish and expand.
But how can you as a teacher help to get the next generation of great minds interested in science? Well, this article will be offering three tips on how you can best get your pupils interested in science; featuring recent studies and professional opinions on how to make science more engaging.
Make it Relevant
Professor Brian Schmidt a 2011 Physics Nobel Prize winner said that children are born curious; constantly looking for explanations as to why the world is the way it is. Thus, in many ways science is incredibly relevant to younger generations, as it’s all about the exploration of ideas and understanding how the world works.
So the fact that pupils often enter secondary education with negative attitudes towards science is disappointing. But educational professionals can help to alter these attitudes, making the subject of science compelling once more to pupils.
But how do teachers do this? By making scientific learning more relevant to daily life. If children feel connected to what they’re studying, they’re more likely to pay attention. An idea that is supported by a recent study conducted by Sheffield-Hallam University during which a student mentioned that “Biology is easier to understand because you can relate to it more…because it’s all around you.” Figuring out how to contextualise scientific textbook content to everyday situations may require some thinking outside the box, but the results are worth it.
Keep It Interactive
All too often, the majority of learning in secondary education is done thorough work with textbooks and written resources. So by adding an interactive element, you will be able to inject some excitement into the lesson.
Of course the nature of this interaction differs with age. For instance, you wouldn’t have the young year 7s running about with corrosive substances for their experiments. However, you could still perform experiments and interactive tasks with them, requesting their assistance at certain intervals. And for the older pupils, you can encourage them to participate in their own experiments.
Alternately, you can use technology as an aid you in making lessons more interactive. There are various resources that offer advice on how to do this.
In a recent study it was discovered that 46% of students asked had little or no idea of what careers they could go into if they pursued science to higher education. This bringing our attention to the question that if students aren’t aware of the career opportunities available to them through how are they to know whether it’s worth pursuing?
Particularly amongst the GCSE and A-Level students, you could introduce your students to various science-related positions in class. Try questioning them about who would be responsible for analysing aspects of our world and how science links into it. This will help your pupils begin to draw connections between science and the career areas they’re interested in.
Websites such as “Career in Science” are also useful for building awareness; offering fact-files and information on the various pathways pupils can go down should they choose to study science in higher education.
By striving to provide lessons that are intriguing and fresh in approach, you’ll be more likely to captivate your pupil’s attention and alter their pre-existing ideas on science; potentially altering their career choices later on.
So try and get your pupils involved and apply motivational science tips into your teaching. Sometimes the way that you present content is just as important as what you present!
Do you have any further tips to suggest? Comment below!