Looking at my science lessons for the past one week, it has indeed been very action packed.For the P6s, I have used toys to introduce energy (E.g., elastic potential energy in spring and rubber band , use of hand generator to “see” energy conversion) . For P5s, they are setting up circuits to experience the electrifying electricity. Such activities can possibly help them to enhance students’ learning and memory. When revisiting/reviewing the concept, I can refer back to their activities-doing to extend their existing schema
These activity-based lessons allow the students to be doing-thinking But , the challenging point is how to get them to think about their doing. I find myself walking around and asking them questions. Or, I will stop the lessons at the mid point to bring their attention to what they should be thinking.
But, does these activities really work as planned? Well, one of the standard answer you will hear is that the students are engaged. But, what are they engaged with? Perhaps with just the doing only..
The challenge for me is how to get them to think-do especially for my P5s. I personally that it is a habit that they must cultivate. For my P5s, I try to get them enculturated in this type of thinking-doing. Looking at what they have written in the textbook, it seems that they are mostly doing and not just thinking about what they are doing. They might be too engrossed in their doing that they “anyhowly” complete the workbook when it is time to hand up their book. In order to get them to think-more, here are what I would do or continue doing:
(1) Get them to articulate what they are doing (while walking around or classroom discussion)
(2) Make it a routine for them to complete the designated exercises in their WB before allowing to explore
(3) Get them to blog/write about their doing.
So, how about my P6s who are not strong in science ? I would do similar things but perhaps give them more scaffolding (like helping words and modelling the thinking). I notice that they are quite hesitant as I ask them questions about their doing. They do not seem confident of their answers even though their answers might be right. Is that a matter of learned helplessness? Perhaps… I guess I need to ask and encourage them more to give their answers.