Good teachers know that students learn a lot more when they get their hands on real materials, and get to do their own projects and experiments. But sometimes we get frustrated thinking about the students who won’t cooperate, don’t clean up, waste materials, or misbehave during our hands-on learning time. In my work as a science teacher and coach, I’ve seen teachers who decide to delay lab activities until behavior is rock-solid. Instead of starting off with a bang, they tiptoe toward inquiry learning.
The author, Anthony Cody is an award-winning science teacher, and this article has some great ideas, tips and practical suggestions for all grades and subject areas.
Some people wonder if computers are “real” materials, thinking that what happens on the screen is virtual, not real. But if students are allowed to use computers as part of their toolkit – making things can include digital things. Making, doing, constructing are all possible on a computer, and part of many student’s everyday lives, outside of school, at least. Empowering students to believe in themselves as capable of making things that matter, both in the physical and digital world, is a crucial part of learning.
So whatever you call it, project-based learning, hands-on, or inquiry learning – the time to start is always NOW!