Getting young children engaged in class can sometimes be a challenge, and there’s no denying that science can sometimes have a bad rep for being complex and confusing in the eyes of schoolchildren – but it needn’t be that way.
As the study of life and living things, biology is a subject that is full of so many different topics and facts for you to teach and for them to learn. Providing engaging lessons will help the kids to understand and appreciate science as a whole. So, what can you do to get them interested and engaged to make the most of your teaching time and efforts?
Primary and secondary school syllabuses cover huge topics of what makes life possible, what all kinds of living organisms need to survive, how they evolve and change, and how different life forms interact with one another. From humans and animals through to cells and genetics, these children learn it all.
As a teacher, you know you need to do more than stand in front of a class, reading through a textbook in front of you. There are many teaching strategies you can incorporate to boost class engagement and interest, and we’ve got some innovative ideas to make that biology class more fun and appealing – for you and the kids!
Make it relatable
First things first, when it comes to teaching a lesson, the best way to get through to children – particularly young children – is to make it relatable to them. They need to interact with the lesson in some way for you to gain (and maintain) their attention throughout the class. With biology being the study of human and living things, this can be particularly easy.
Whatever topic you are covering in the lesson, you can make associations or comparisons with the human body. For example, when it comes to learning about animals and food chains, there are things that the children can draw from the lesson to learn about themselves and everyday living.
Or how about making them grow their own cress in class to teach them about fundamental processes in plants? It’s a simple way to build a connection between the child and what they are learning, and will be far more beneficial than simply writing notes.
You’ll already know the benefits of using different types of media in your lessons for children. Using visual representations of what you are teaching – whether that be videos, photographs, or even acting – is a sure-fire way to keep up engagement with your class. It’s about varying your lessons from day to day or week to week, otherwise children can get quickly bored.
The use of visual in learning is often seen as being more memorable and more stand-out than other types of teaching if done in the right way. We’re certainly not saying for you to stick the TV on in every lesson with an on-topic video – there needs to be more to a lesson than that. However, a bit of variation between your classes and the resources you use is never a bad thing!
Games and quizzes
Who doesn’t love a good game? And there are so many ways you can incorporate the fun of games into your lesson, with educational benefits and without it being totally manic. You can be really creative with this too. Board games, word games – the list is endless. There are a lot of big words in biology after all; perfect for a crossword or two!
Team or class quizzes is another great way to get kids interacting with both their classmates and their subject. There’s an element of healthy competition to it that will create a buzz in the classroom, and get everyone’s brains working.
Arts and crafts
Who said biology can’t be arty? Arts and crafts in lessons benefit from visual learning – something we’ve already mentioned. Whilst the idea of getting the felt-tip pens out to create life-size diagrams of food-chains and lifecycles might seem better suited to younger children, that shouldn’t stop you from using this teaching technique for Key Stage 2 and 3 too.
Bringing in animal workshops to your classes is the next step up from videos and photographs, and would certainly be memorable for every member of the class. And do you know what that means? Memorable lesson = memorable learning. That’s exactly why branching out from the norm in some of your classes can make all the difference to the children’s learning.
Animal workshops give you and the children a chance to get hands-on with biology and animal science, letting you observe them with your own eyes rather than on a documentary or a video. It’s this first-hand experience that makes all the difference to learning. The interaction with all kinds of animals, from gerbils and rats to snakes and spiders, promotes engagement and interest in the animals and living beings in general, making the kids eager to learn more during that class… and onwards!
At Wild Science, we create workshops that are entirely relevant to your studies, meeting any requirements you may have. Whether you are discussing food chains, evolution, or animal habitat, you can be sure that our workshops will not only grab the undivided attention of your class, but also increase their passion in the subject. It’s your chance to show them why your subject is fun and why you became a biologist or teacher.
It’s this kind of pro-active teaching and learning that encourages them to think like a scientist and feel more connected with the subject. It’s all about interaction! Using or combining some of these methods in your class syllabus will make for more memorable studying, making memories that last far beyond that of the end-of-week test of end-of-year exams.