UNIT NINE: METHODS OF TEACHING SCIENCE

This unit discusses the following sub-topics: 9.1       What is Teaching Method? 9.2       Activity Methods of Teaching 9.3       Discovery Methods of Teaching 9.4       Questions-And-Answer Methods of Teaching 9.5       Demonstration Methods of Teaching 9.6       Discussion Method of Teaching 9.7       Field Trip Method of Teaching 9.8.1    Games Method of Teaching 9.8.2    Simulation Method of Teaching 9.8.3    Role Playing Method of Teaching 9.8.4    Brainstorming Method of Teaching 9.8.5    Project Method of Teaching 9.8.6    Inquiry/Problem Solving of Teaching 9.8.7    Laboratory Method of Teaching 9.8.8    Lecturette Method of Teaching 9.8.9    Dramatization Method of Teaching 9.8.10  Observation Method of Teaching 9.8.11  Innovative Teaching Methods

UNIT 9

METHODS OF TEACHING SCIENCE

Dear student we welcome you to Unit 9.

Indicators:

  • Demonstrate knowledge on the methods of teaching science
  • Integrate the method of teaching science during teaching practices

Activity 1:

  • What is Method of Teaching Science?

9.1       WHAT IS A TEACHING METHODS?

A teaching method in Science may be defined as the standard procedure in the presentation of instructional materials and the content of activities. In other words it is the way and manner in which the teacher presents his lessons to enable his students to acquire knowledge in the subject under consideration.

Some of the Common Methods of Teaching Science at the Basic School includes:

  1. Activity method
  2. Discovery method
  3. Question and answer method
  4. Demonstration method
  5. Discussion method
  6. Field trip method

Others may include:

  1. Games method
  2. Observation method
  3. Brainstorming method
  4. Laboratory method
  5. Project method
  6. Inquiry/problem solving method
  7. Role play method
  8. Simulation method
  9. Lecturette method

Activity 2:

  • What do you understand by Activity Method?
  • Why do you have to use Activity base lesson at the basic level?
  • Outline three advantages and three disadvantages of Activity Method and how the drawbacks can be minimize

9.2       ACTIVITY METHODS OF TEACHING

Activity method of teaching which involves active participation of all the pupils. It is a child-centred approach to teaching because the child is placed at the centre of the teaching and learning process. The child is made to interact with materials provided either by pupils or teacher for him or her to discover facts and concepts and acquire skills through first-hand experience.

9.2.1    Definition:

Activity method of teaching science is the method in which learners are placed at the centre of teaching and learning and are made to interact with teaching materials to discover concepts, facts, laws and principles themselves with little intervention or unaided by the teacher.

9.2.2    Psychological foundation of activity method

The Activity Method has its basis in great work done by the Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget, on the stages of cognitive development in children. He puts children into four developmental stages. These are:

i. Sensori-Motor stage (pre-verbal) – (0-18 months)
ii. Pre-operational stage – (2-7 years)
iii. Concrete operational stage (7-11 years)
iv. Formal operational stage (11 + years)

According to Piaget, each stage has a distinctive behavioural pattern.

9.2.3    The implications of Piaget’s stages of cognitive development to the teaching and learning of science at the basic schools

The implications of Piaget’s stages of cognitive development to the teaching and learning of science at the basic schools.

  1. A teacher must understand how students learn and develop and must provide learning opportunities that support a student intellectual, social and personal development.
  2. The science teacher should act as a guide working with the child as he interacts with the environment, ensuring that experiences are appropriate for the stag e at which the child is functioning.
  3. There is the need to emphasis reinforcement in teaching and learning. Also there is the need to use activity method with all levels of pupils.
  4. Science teachers at the upper level of the basic school, i.e. J.S.S. should provide activities that are challenging and problems that would enable the pupils to make hypothesis in finding solutions to such problems.
  5. Pupils should also be engaged in systematic experiments.
  6. The science teacher should act as a guide working with the child as he interacts with the environment, ensuring that experiences are appropriate for the stage at which the child is functioning.
  7. The Instructional Method employed by the science teacher should take into consideration the abilities and skills already acquired.
  8. Science teachers in the basic schools should provide a lot of concrete materials objects and encourage their use by pupils in suitably designed activities to help them develop manipulative skills, make their own discoveries, classify, construct and analyses materials. These enable pupils to develop cognitive skills such as perceptions, conceptions, reasoning, memory and creativity.
  9. The teacher should be aware of the developmental stage at which each child is functioning and each should be taught only what the child is ready to learn.

9.2.4    Roles of the teacher under activity method

What are the roles of the teacher in activity-based lessons?

  • He/she selects the topic from the syllabus before the lesson.
  • He/she selects and provides relevant materials for the lesson.
  • The teacher tries out the activities before the lesson.

During the lesson the teacher performs the following roles.

  • The teacher introduces the lesson and gives out materials to pupils.
  • He/she gives precise and clear instructions.
  • He/she moves from group to group (if pupils are in groups) or form one person to another (individual work) to supervise and guide them.
  • Acts as a co-learner taking keen interest in learners’ activities.
  • He/she evaluates pupils work.

After the lesson the teacher has the following roles.

These are:

  • He/she holds general discussion with pupils.
  • Marks assignments and exercises.
  • Supervises cleaning or tiding up of the classroom for the next lesson.

9.2.5    Role of Learners

The roles of learners before the lesson are:

  • Pupils may be involved in the collection of materials e.g. plants, flowers, water etc.
  • Pupils may be asked to read around the topic.

Role during the lesson in this method of teaching. These are, Pupils

  • Interact with materials and try to find answers to their problems.
  • Communicate among group members and with their teacher.
  • Record their own findings. For example, making models, sketching graphs, diagrams and writing reports.
  • Draw conclusion of their experiment.

After the lesson

  • Pupils participate actively in class discussion with the teacher.
  • They also do expression work, assignment or copy blackboard summary.
  • Finally, they tidy up the classroom for the next lesson.

9.2.6    Reasons for using ‘Activity Method’ of teaching at basic school level

  1. The method satisfies the child’s natural tendency to collect object, explore his/her environment by being curious and assume leadership roles, be creative by constructing vehicles out of milk tins, flutes from bamboo and leaf stalks of pawpaw.
  2. It is easy for a child to learn in the classroom when using materials in the environment in which he is familiar with. For e.g. children tell where to find frog in dry season, grasshopper and other insects and fruits in the environment. This can help them get first-hand information.
  3. Children differ in behaviour due to their genetic and environmental factors, individual differences. These behaviours are catered for when planning activity lessons (E.g. of these are interest,  intelligence  (ability)  physical  appearance  and  emotion).  All  these  are  individual differences.
  1. The method takes care of children limited previous knowledge and experiences. For e.g. children are from different such as rich home where there are televisions and poor homes where there are no televisions but farming community. These two people (groups) of children have previous knowledge and experience. This method blends to benefit the children.
  2. Its takes into consideration the pupils’ developmental stage. (Concrete operational stage).

9.27     Advantages of the Activity Method

The advantages of the Activity method are as follows:

  • The pupils learn through first-hand experience.
  • They do not easily forget what they have learnt.
  • Pupils are better introduced to the world of work.
  • The method demystifies science and creates love and interest for science at an early stage.
  • It brings co-operation among children.

9.2.8    Disadvantages of the Activity Method of teaching science.

  • It is time consuming
  • It is more prone to breakages of equipment and materials if care is not taken.
  • It requires a resourceful and hardworking teacher.
  • It requires the use of many varied materials.

Activity 3:

  • Explain the term pure and directed discovery.
  • State two advantages and two disadvantages of discovery method  of teaching Science

9.3       DISCOVERY METHODS OF TEACHING

Discovery Method is  a teaching method which enables pupils to find out answers to problems themselves.

Pure discovery is where pupils find out answers or facts for themselves based on a problem or something that already existed but was not known.

Directed discovery is where the teacher generally creates the conditions under which the pupils will discover for themselves that which someone else has previously discovered.

9.3.1    Roles of the teacher in the Discovery Method of teaching

  • Create necessary conditions for learning to be successful and useful e.g. providing all materials needed.
  • Ensure that pupils understand the problem.
  • Supervise carefully to prevent chaos.
  • Act as a co-learner.
  • Serve as a facilitator.

9.3.2    Role of pupils in discovery method of teaching

  • Identify the problem
  • Analysis the problem
  • Find alternative solution to the problem.
  • Record their observation and findings.
  • Participate in general discussion with the teacher.
  • Communicating with group members and the teacher.

9.3.3    Advantages of Discovery Method.

  • Since the pupil actively discovers information and knowledge, retention of knowledge is increased.
  • It helps pupils learn how to follow instructions and record their findings.
  • When pupils discover knowledge for themselves, they are motivated.
  • Pupils develop attitudes and skills essential for self-directed learning.

9.3.4    Disadvantages of the Discovery Method of teaching.

  • The discovery approach is time consuming.
  • Pupils often get stuck or lose direction before the problem is solved.
  • Pupils often discover things other than what was intended to be discovered.

Activity 4:

  • What is Question-and-Answer Method?
  • Identify and explain the phases of questioning technique?
  • State two characteristics of good questioning technique
  • Give two reasons why teachers ask questions?

9.4       QUESTION-AND-ANSWER METHODS OF TEACHING

Question and Answer Method is a method of teaching in which the teacher gets pupils to examine and discover ideas, principles and facts by asking questions to which pupils give answers.

9.4.1    Why do teachers ask questions?

  • Find out what pupils already know.
  • Remind pupils of what they know.
  • Stimulate the thinking power of pupils.
  • Make pupils draw logical conclusions.
  • Help pupils revise what they have learnt.

9.4.2    Why do pupils ask questions?

  • To show relationship that exists between the teacher and pupils.
  • To determine the level of understanding or intellectual ability of pupils.
  • To show whether the teacher is communicating well or not. (e.g. is his/her voice clear? Is he/she systematic in his/her presentation?)
  • To clear pupils misunderstanding of ideas on everyday occurrences. e.g. taking rainbow as a god.
  • Learn more to satisfy their curiosity.

9.4.3    How do we use the Question and Answer Method?

The correct way of using the Question and Answer Method is shown below: Question                     Pause                Respondent

  1. The question should be well framed, specific and to the point. The wording of the question should portray what the teacher actually intended to achieve. For example: What is the function of ptyalin in digestion in the mouth?
  2. The second phase of questioning is a pause. Here the teacher must pause for some time to give pupils ample time to think. If the time is too long the pupils will disturb in class and if it is too short they will not think and answer the question very well.
  3. The third phase of the Questioning Method is the respondent stage. The teacher after a pause selects who is to give the reply. This is to give everybody the chance to answer questions in the class.
  4. Listen a tentatively to all responses.
  5. Pass a comment on the response given by a respondent.

9.4.4    Guidelines for effective use of the Question and Answer Method of teaching?

  • Ask questions that are clear and precise.
  • Distribute the questions widely around the class in an irregular manner.
  • If a pupil gives an incorrect answer, restate the question or provide a hint (clue)
  • Give positive motivation or reinforcement.
  • Listen attentively to all responses.
  • Ask questions before calling pupils to answer.
  • Pause after asking questions.

9.4.5    Advantages of Question and Answer Method of teaching.

  • Pupils become mentally involved throughout the lesson.
  • Pupils realize their own mistakes when probing questions are asked. This leads to self-evaluation.
  • It is an effective control device because when pupils know that they may be called upon anytime, they pay attention to what is going on in the class.

9.4.6    Disadvantages of Question and Answer Method of teaching.

  • Comparing this with the lecture method, it is a slower method of dealing with information.
  • Consistently answering question incorrectly may lead to lessened self-concept. (This means the pupil will be demoralized).
  • It is time consuming in nature.

Activity 5:

  • What is Demonstration Method?
  • State and discuss four conditions for using Demonstration Method in Teaching Science
  • Write two advantages and two disadvantages of Demonstration method.

9.5       DEMONSTRATION METHODS OF TEACHING

The word demonstration means doing something in the presence of others in order to show them how to do it or illustrate a principle. Demonstration method of teaching involves doing an activity in the presence of the pupils in order to show them how to do it. Demonstration can be presented either by pupils or by teachers or by a resource person.

9.3.1    Conditions for using Demonstration method

Demonstration Method is used under one or more of the following conditions, when:

  • The materials involved are scarce.
  • The materials are expensive
  • The materials are delicate or fragile.
  • The operation involved is dangerous.
  • The skills involved are complex.

9.5.2    Guidelines for effective use of the Demonstration Method of teaching

Guideline for effective use of the Demonstration Method of teaching are as outlined below:

  • All the pupils should be so positioned as to see and hear the teacher well.
  • Articles liable to distract attention of students should be removed from the bench.
  • You should run a commentary on the demonstration as it takes place and also ask questions to make sure that the pupils are following everything that is being done.
  • At the end of the demonstration, review the steps involved or give a short summary of what has happened.
  • Let one or two students perform the same demonstration.

9.5.3    Advantage of Demonstration Method of teaching

Advantages of the Demonstration Method of teaching are.

  • It trains pupils to be good observers.
  • It stimulates thinking and formation of concepts and generalizations.
  • It has high value since it involves the use gadgets and equipment which might be new to the pupils.
  • It is economic since only the demonstrator needs equipment and materials.

9.5.4    Disadvantages of Demonstration

  • Much planning and preparation is required on the part of the demonstrator.
  • It can be ineffective if the demonstrator just carries on without asking for feedback.
  • It is not suitable for a large class or with extremely delicate objects/materials.
  • It can lead to imitation without understanding.

Activity 6:

  • What is Discussion Method?
  • Outline four suggestion for effective use of discussion method in science
  • State four differences between discussion and question and answer method of teaching Science.

9.6       DISCUSSION METHODS OF TEACHING

Discussion Method of teaching is an activity in which learners talk together in order to share information about a topic or to problem. Discussion is characterized by increased involvement and active participation of pupils in the lesson. The pupils talk to one another, suggest solutions, evaluate ideas and draw conclusions or generalizations.

9.6.1    What are the roles of the teacher and pupils during a discussion lesson?

The roles of the teacher are: Teacher

  • Poses the problem or initiates the discussion, or introduces the topic to pupils.
  • Reminds the class of the rules to be observed. e.g. Talk only when given the chance.
  • Listen attentively when someone is talking.
  • Respect pupils’ point of view.
  • Directs and controls the discussion.
  • Encourages pupils to participate fully.
  • Serves as a moderator by clarifying ideas, making summaries and drawing conclusions.

The Roles of the Pupils

  • The pupils prepare very well for the lesson by reading and finding more about the topic or the problem.
  • They share information about the topic or problem giving details of the information.
  • Through discussion they find solutions to the problem.

9.6.2    Guidelines for effective use of the Discussion Method

  • Topics must be familiar, interesting and affect the lives of the pupils or society.
  • Give pupils adequate time to prepare for the discussion.
  • The teacher himself/herself should prepare well on the topic.
  • The teacher must serve as a moderator for the discussion.
  • He/she must encourage many pupils to participate actively in the discussion.
  • Teacher must discourage the tendency of few pupils dominating the discussion.

9.6.3    Advantages of Discussion Method of teaching.

  • The method gives pupils the opportunity to practice oral communication skills.
  • It encourages pupils to be critical listeners.
  • It gives good practice in problem solving.
  • It helps pupils to make ideas clearer when they have to be expressed orally.
  • It helps to make pupils tolerant as they become aware of different views.
  • It gives pupils practice in evaluative and critical thinking.

9.6.4    Disadvantages of Discussion Method

  • It does not lend itself to all subjects or topics. The choice of a suitable topic is the problem of the teacher.
  • In large classes it is difficult to achieve maximum interaction.
  • It may give opportunities to brighter pupils to show off during the discussion.
  • When a discussion leader is weak, the discussion runs into chaos or becomes disorganized and an unproductive activity.
  • If pupils are ignorant about the topic they will not participate and the lesson may not be successful.

Activity 7:

  • What is field trip?
  • How will you organize a field trip for a Science class?
  • State and explain any four benefits of a field trip.
  • Mention and discuss two possible dangers in a field trip and three ways of avoiding dangers in a field trip.

9.7       FIELD TRIP METHODS OF TEACHING

This is a planned visit sanctioned by the school to a place outside the regular classroom to obtain information directly and to study real situations. There should be an educational reason for making the trip.

9.7.1    Roles of the teacher under Field trip

  1. Before the trip
  2. During the tip
  3. After the trip

Before the trip

  1. Visit the site and hold discussions with affairs in charge. During the time, look for things you want your students to look for.
  2. Write to the people or department concerned with date and time for the trip, the number of pupils and teachers involved.
  3. Write to obtain permission to make the trip from the school authorities.
  4. Make all transport arrangements.
  5. Discuss the purpose of the trip with pupils or students and give specific instructions on what they are to do.
  6. Establish the dress to wear, safety and behaviour to put up.

During the trip

  1. Draw students’ attention to important features of the trip.
  2. The teacher must keep to the rear and ensure that all pupils are at where they are expected to be.
  3. Guard against loitering about of students.
  4. He must ensure that the students seek permission from the teacher before eating, drinking, talking to somebody example, a relative or leaving the group etc.
  5. He must count pupils (do head count) during the trip.
  6. Sustain the interest of the students by being actively involved in every aspect of the trip. Examples asking questions, giving advice, protecting students etc.
  1. Can collect specimens and other teaching and learning materials to be kept in the science lab.

After the trip

  1. Discuss with pupils what was learnt on the trip.
  2. Assign follow up work to pupils. For example making drawings or sketches o what was observed or writing a guided report on the trip.
  3. Let the class send a thank you message to the host of the field trip.

9.7.2    The roles of the Learners

Before the trip

  1. They should gather materials which will be needed to put down notes, information or salient points eg. Pens, pencils, books notepads etc.
  2. They must inform their parents about the trips.
  3. They should have knowledge about the trip, what they are going to observe etc.
  4. They should be aware of where they are going and the purpose of the trip.
  5. They should know the time and date intended for the trip.
  6. They should  know the dress  code to  wear, their health  status  and  rules  and  regulations concerning the trip.

During the trip

  1. They should get involved by asking their guide and teacher questions.
  2. They should help the teacher in collecting specimens on the field to be kept for teaching.
  3. They should ask permission when leaving the group to a different place.
  4. They should comply with the rules and regulations lay down.
  5. They should record their observations, realia, taking pictures, information’s and any other important notes concerning the field trip.
  6. They should pay attention to the guide and their teacher, present at where they are expected to be.

After the trip

  1. They should write a summary report concerning the trip on what they learnt.
  2. They should with the help of the teacher show their gratitude to the host.
  3. They should take part in general class discussion concerning the field trip.
  4. They can help the teacher in preserving specimens collected on the trip for future use.

9.7.3                Benefits of a Field Trip

  • Provides the pupils with first-hand information
  • Enables pupils to link up school life with the outside world and the community
  • Creates situations which helps pupils to develop the spirit of scientific inquiry or which helps the pupils to observe the practical application of some of the theories they have learn in class
  • Enables pupils to collect materials and preserve them for a science corner or museum.
  • Develops planning skills, cooperation and tolerance of the pupils.
  • Arouses pupils interest in future lessons related to the field trip
  • Enables pupils to learn to take notes and write reports

9.7.4    Possible Dangers in a Field Trip

  • Pupils may come into contact with dangerous materials/chemicals/animals
  • Pupils may stray to potential dangerous places (restricted areas)
  • Pupils may do things without authority, for example, going to swim on their own.
  • Pupils may wonder away from the group
  • The vehicle conveying your pupils can be involved in a road accident.

9.7.5    Avoiding Angers in a Field Trip

What steps would you take to help your pupils to avoid these dangers? Consider the following:

  • Establish safety standards before the trip and ensure that the standards are strictly obeyed.
  • Brief pupils on the potential dangers of the trip as well as side attraction that could be dangerous.
  • Arrange with other teachers to accompany you to help in controlling the pupils.
  • You and the other teachers should always be at position where you will have an eye on each pupil.
  • Insist that your pupils wear protective clothing where necessary.
  • The driver must have a satisfactory record of safe driving and the vehicle must be road worthy.
  • You must sit in front of the vehicle and make sure that the vehicle is driven at reasonable speed.

Activity 8:

  • Define or explain briefly the following methods of teaching Science i. Game method
  1. Simulation method iii.  Role playing
  2. Brainstorming v. Project
  3. Inquiry/problem solving
  4. Laboratory
  5. Lecturette
  6. Dramatization
  7. Observation

9.8.1    GAMES METHOD OF TEACHING

This is an organized and structured learning activity governed by rules with specific goal (knowledge, skills and attitudes to be learnt), with an element of fun and may involve competition. The significance of the use of games is that, it reinforces the ideas, concepts learners have acquired during the lesson and hold learners’ interest throughout the lesson.

Examples of science games are

Card games, Dice games (e.g. ludu, snakes and ladders), Computer games, Puzzles, Scrabble games, and Riddles. Some of these games help learners Memory skills, Sanitation skills, Observational skills, Counting skills etc. The duration to play the game is decided by the teacher according to time given on the time table and the time to play depends on the teacher either as introduction or development or as evaluation.

9.8.2    SIMULATION METHOD OF TEACHING Description

Simulation is a method of teaching in which the teacher creates a “mock” situation and puts a pupil there so that from this mock situation the pupil may learn about the real situation. The most common forms of simulation include simulation games, role playing and dramatization.

Rationale

If what is simulated in the class is what exists in real life; it, therefore follows that what a student learns in a simulated situation is most likely to be transferred to real life situations

9.8.3    ROLE-PLAYING METHOD OF TEACHING Description

Role playing is a teaching strategy that encourages pupils to express themselves freely by playing the roles of others as they perceive them.

Rationale

By acting out roles and seeing a single problem being acted out in several ways, participants in role- playing could learn to adopt broader points of view and to consider various approaches to problems.

9.8.4    BRAINSTORMING METHOD OF TEACHING

Brainstorming is a technique in which a teacher challenges his/her class with problems (questions) that stimulate creative thinking and lead to the development of new ideas among the pupils.

9.8.5    PROJECT METHOD OF TEACHING

Project work is an activity carried out by pupils or teachers, or in groups in a specified area of learning over a period of time. It is also a method of learning through experimentation, observation and how scientific knowledge should be used to solve a problem within a period of time.

9.8.6    INQUIRY/PROBLEM SOLVING METHOD OF TEACHING Description

In this method, learners inquire into a problem with a view to finding some answers or reasons why a problem exists.

Learners try to obtain their answers using accepted data comprising

  • Statement of problem
  • Analyzing the problem
  • Finding alternative solutions to the problem
  • Considering the merits and demerits of each solution
  • Actual testing of selected solution

9.8.7    LABORATORY METHODS OF TEACHING

Laboratory method is a supervised learning activity carried out by the student studying particular subject involving practical application of theory through observation, experimental and research

9.8.8    LECTURETTE METHODS OF TEACHING Description

It is a modified lecture method. It is a method in which the teacher gives information orally to pupils or learners but allows pupils to ask questions, make suggestions and comment in the course of the lesson. The teacher occasionally breaks to ask questions and invite opinions of learners.

9.8.9    WHAT IS THE DRAMATIZATION METHODS OF TEACHING?

The dramatization teaching method refers to a collection of teaching tools that include traditional drama techniques, such as improvisation, storytelling, role playing and games. A lot of emphasis is placed on engaging students through interactive activities.

9.8.10  OBSERVATION METHODS OF TEACHING

Observation is the process of taking notice, or becoming conscious, of objects and events. It involves the use of one or more senses.

NOTE: Observation is probably more of a teacher skill than a teaching strategy.

9.8.11  WHAT IS INNOVATIVE TEACHING METHODS?

Innovative teaching method is a proactive approach to integrate new teaching strategies and methods into a classroom. Technology plays a key role in innovative teaching. Innovative teachers use new technology to enhance or expand upon the student experience. The transition from traditional blackboard and overhead projector instruction into computer-aided presentations was innovative. Innovative teachers incorporate tools like tablet computers and mobile devices to offer students a more interactive experience.

Innovative teaching also involves creativity on the part of the teacher. Innovative teachers sometimes reorganize the educational process. “Flipped classrooms” are a popular example of innovative teaching. In a flipped classroom, the teacher offers students a conventional lecture or knowledge-building experience out of class, such as a video-taped lecture. Students then complete activities, case studies and more lab-based projects in the classroom. The teacher serves as a guide or consultant as students participate.

A primary motive of innovative teaching is encouraging students to engage more in the learning process. When students interact with teachers and peers, they gain more practical experience and retain more information from a class.

 

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