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Science is a subject that requires experiments and interactive assignments. Children can benefit from learning in a fun and inclusive environment. Studies have been conducted that children have a better learning experience when their science teachers create a hands-on learning environment. This paper will display different studies and methods in which students can benefit from hands-on learning in science.
Children are being born into the most hands-on, technological time. Their needs in education can be better met by creating an engaging and interactive science environment.
When it comes to science, children from all needs can benefit from learning in an inviting and engaging environment. Science is a subject that is filled with experiments and children can learn through hands on learning. Hands-on science lessons can help children understand material adequately. Teachers can also modify and simplify lessons to meet the needs of special need students and English Language Learners in the class. Students are immersing themselves in technology, and there are a lot of beneficial tools and methods that teachers can incorporate to help students enhance their desire for learning through hands on technology.
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), also incorporates a lot of engaging and hands on activities for science. As mentioned in the learning pyramid students, ‘…learn about 5% by hearing about something, 10% by reading about it, 30% by seeing a demonstration, but a whopping 75% by doing it for themselves’ (Catawba Careers, 2016). When children learn through experience, they can begin to feel as sense of independence and a desire of self-motivation because they are physically working through tasks.
Hands-on learning is an active process of student-centered learning and it encourages children to discover and develop new ideas and it lets children be creative.
Children can actively engage in science through hands on science lessons. Hands on learning has been around since 350 BCE, when Aristotle wrote, ‘for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them’ (Aristotle.) Many theorists, such as Piaget believed in hands on learning and that children can genuinely learn through playing and engaging on hands on activities. Being hands-on is critically important for all students. Some students are visual learners, and studies have shown that when a student performs physical activities instead of listening to the teacher give a lecture, it tends to stick with children more, and it is even the most popular type of learning amongst students. Hands on experiments and lessons, enable students to experiment and learn through trial and error. Students are also able to comprehend between theory and practice (Bhagat, Vyas, Singh, 2015).
In hands on learning students are also able to actively engage in the activity while being able to participate in experiments. ‘In general, conducting hands-on activities in biology classes; for example, in field or laboratory settings, is widely recommended by educational authorities like the National Association of Biology Teachers’ (Bhagat, Vyas, Singh, 2015.) In science, students enhance their learning through using scientific instruments and they are able to manipulate the materials or objects they are studying
A similar study was done on a chemistry class where one group was taught electrolysis for nine lessons by a range of lecture, teacher demonstration, class discussion, and small group work. The other group was given the same lecture, but only with teacher lecture. At the end of nine lessons, the experimental group who were given the opportunity to learn through hands on lessons showed a more positive outlook to the assignments and to chemistry. (Holstermann, Grube, Bogeholz, 2009). The researchers were able to conclude that creating biology lessons that are hands on will gain students interest more than a lecture from a book. The students in the class were able to effectively learn the material when they were given the opportunity to participate in activities, rather than just listening to a lecture. The researchers also surveyed students and came to the conclusion that more students had a positive experience with experimenting, conducting dissections, and working with microscopes (Holstermann, Grube, Bogeholz, 2009). Students, regardless their age can all benefit from engaging experiments. The class that was being studied on, were in high school, but they still preferred to learn through doing. Learning by doing tends to stick with students more, as mentioned in the study, and can benefit students from preschool all through college.
With technology advancements rising, students are often getting bored of sitting around during science lectures listening to the teacher talk about the lesson. There are a lot of ways in which teachers can incorporate science lessons and activities using technology. Students understand technology because they are being born into a world where technology is being used everywhere. Using technology in lessons can give visual and auditory students a better opportunity to understand the lesson, rather than sitting through a lecture being read through a textbook. Students are going to be working in a technological world, so reinforcing or introducing technology through lectures and activities in science will be a benefit for them in the near future. ‘To better prepare students for the science and technology of the 21st century, the current science education reforms ask science teachers to integrate technology and inquiry-based teaching into their instruction’ (Guzey, Roehrig, 2016.) A lot of schools provide children with laptops they are able to take home and bring every day to class. Using such tools, often appear to be intimidating for some teachers, but they can bring great advantages for students. Teachers can incorporate science related material with the laptops students take home. There are science websites students can login in from home or school and they are able to be in virtual science experiments or lessons. Teachers can incorporate engaging ways for children to use their laptops for science lessons that can benefit both students and teachers.
Educational technology tools like computers, data collection, digital microscopes, and interactive whiteboards can all help students be active participants in the acquisition of scientific knowledge and development of the nature of science and inquiry. Students are able to participate in hands on activity by using digital microscopes and using data collection. If it weren’t for all of these technological tools, students would not be able to actively immerse themselves in science inquiry. Teachers often are frightful of incorporating too much technology, or they may not know how to properly use it, but especially in science, it is crucial that teachers learn new ways to incorporate hands on use of technology, to better prepare students for future jobs. ‘Teachers need ongoing support while they make efforts to develop and sustain effective technology integration’ (Guzey, Roehrig, 2016.) There are also new educational tools that are available for teachers to use to help them better understand the changing technology around them. Teachers can attend workshops or trainings to better prepare them for the new technology that is rising.
Science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM is a program that uses hands-on instruction in the science and math fields. In today’s society STEM, has grown significantly and will continue to become more popular in the near future. Since we are living in a technological age, STEM fields are the best career options for students. A research done on STEM and hands on learning states, ‘To improve students’ performance in STEM, professional development activities are recommended by the school district to retain teachers in hands-on instructional approach’ (Kyere, 2017.)
There are a lot of teachers who implement STEM activities in their science curriculum, however a lot of teachers are still lacking the hands-on portion of the STEM activities. Teachers are able to gain insight on different STEM hands on activities through various trainings, presentations, online websites, and through other teachers who are familiar with STEM. There is also a rise in STEM kits where teachers are able to purchase a premade kit, filled with hands-on activities that go along with a STEM lesson. Research has been proven that by simply providing lecture and no hands on lessons, can result in negative effects on students’ performance (Kyere, 2017.) STEM lessons also give students the opportunity to join in hands-on inquiry and open-ended exploration. STEM science activities also push children to explore, investigate and create curiosity. Children can learn STEM from as little as preschool. When children are playing they are learning through hands on experiences. For instance, building blocks is engineering and they are still learning through play. By providing opportunities for students to grow their knowledge through STEM activities and hands on STEM activities, teachers are preparing them for their future (Jolly, 2014.)
In science, learning can be accessible and meaningful to all students, even those with special needs. According to the Organization for Economic Co-Cooperation and Development, there are countries who are working towards helping and improving science and hands on education for children who have special needs (Hand, Taylor, Therrien, Villanueva, 2012). This study claims that that high performing countries share the belief that students from all backgrounds and development are capable of reaching and achieving high standards. Students with special needs can truly benefit from hands on experiences in science. Special need students can have accommodations or modifications made to the lesson plans to better fit their needs. There are a lot of ways and methods teachers can allow all students to be a part of an experiment or hands-on learning. According to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, students who have special needs, ‘…hands on activities and working with peers, provide students with opportunities to illustrate ideas through investigations, and develop an understanding of cause and effect’ (Hand, Taylor, Therrien, Villanueva, 2012).
Special need students can learn from their typical peers in the classroom by observing how their peers perform tasks, which can motivate students of special needs.
Overall, studies and research have found that incorporating hands on learning in science can create meaningful lessons for all types of students. Researchers have conducted studies to show that children are capable of greater success in science when they are taught through hands on lessons. Hands on learning creates curiosity and enables children to explore and investigate. As studies were presented, children from all types of needs have appeared to benefit more in science when they are learning through experiments and hands on learning. Teachers are able to incorporate hands on learning through the use of technology and engaging experiments. Ultimately, there are several ways in which teachers can implement hands on learning in science
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