What is your idea of a typical Science lesson? Do you envision students carefully pouring chemicals into test tubes? Or, perhaps, young learners squinting their eyes into a magnifying glass? I am sure that the aforementioned are good representations of many’s impression of a Science lesson.
I began my journey as a Science Educational Therapist in 2021. My interest in Science was motivated by how fascinating and interactive the subject can be, and how the knowledge learnt can often be applied onto our everyday life.
When teaching our students, we follow the Inquiry-Based Learning in the DAS, an approach that prioritizes the students’ active roles in the learning process, allowing them to take ownership of their learning. Students’ voices are empowered as they are encouraged to explore materials on their own, share their ideas and thoughts, as well as ask questions that will supplement their learning. The teaching is conducted in 5 phases – Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend and lastly, Evaluate.
My experience as a Science teacher in the DAS can be portrayed in one of the more memorable lessons that I have conducted – the lesson featuring the plant transport system. The students were tasked to experiment with dyes and celery to learn more about the water-carrying tube (xylem) of plants.
In the “Engage” phase, my students’ prior knowledge was tapped into as their excited hands shot up, ready to share about what they know about the topic. Eagerness was shown in their faces in wanting to participate in the lesson.
In the “Explore” phase, a video about the transport system was screened, and students explored about the topic through the visual-digital means. I watched as their brows furrowed to understand more about the topic, and I was sure that many questions would follow after.
The students then continued with their worksheet on the functions of roots in the plant transport system in the “Extend” phase, before moving on to the “Evaluate” phase, in which they had to demonstrate their knowledge of the concepts that they had learnt in the lesson by applying them onto exam-related questions. This phase is important as the end-goal that the teachers endeavor to achieve is for our students to be able to put their learnt knowledge into good use during their examinations.
My students found the questions “easy” after going through the different stages of the Inquiry-Based Learning approach, and were grinning at me as I expressed my surprise at how quickly they had completed their work!
The next lesson soon arrived as the students rushed in to look for their personal dyed celery stalk. Unfortunately, due to the lack of sunlight in the classroom, most of the celery stalks had withered, but not before completing their important purpose of changing colours. The students’ excitement did not die off despite their dead celery. They were, in fact, completely blown away by the colour transformation and in that moment, I thought I saw sparkles gleaming in their eyes as they made clear connections with what they had learnt in the previous lesson to the experiment. In that magical moment, Science was no longer just a pen-and-paper subject to them, but a tangible subject that they can relate to in their everyday lives.
To end off, there are 5 stages in the Inquiry-Based Learning approach. But if I could, I would love to add on an additional phase “Excitement” – excitement for both for my student and me, when I received a text from a parent saying “Hi, teacher. [My son’s] Science [has] got improvement”.
What is your idea of a typical Science lesson? For me, it is about engaging curious minds, witnessing the young learners’ eagerness to learn and of course – their marvelous eureka moment and watching the glimmer in their eyes sparkle. Perhaps they have not realised it yet, but their potential are shining through them too.
Lim Yi Qing
Educational Therapist & RETA Member
DAS Science Explorers
Find out more about DAS Science Explorers programme!