• Isha Harshe

Using Literature to Teach Science

Teaching science to elementary school kids is a challenging task for many educators. How can they keep the interest of their students with science? How can they assess whether the students understand the concepts or not? One of the best ways teachers and parents can combat these issues is by incorporating good literature into their science lessons. 

Why Is Teaching Science to Kids Difficult?

Many teachers prefer to teach reading, writing, and math over science simply because they feel more comfortable with those subjects than with science. Science is a broad term, and contains many different disciplines within – so how does one go about explaining it to 7-year-olds? The diversity and breadth in science have made it a stereotypically “difficult” subject that teachers prefer to stray away from. 

If deciding what to teach was not hard enough, deciding how to teach it can be even more challenging. At their young age, elementary school students learn best by interacting with their environment, through hands-on learning rather than through lectures.

Teachers have to find a way to capture and hold the short attention spans of their students. While science experiments are enticing activities for students, conducting them every class is time- and resource- consuming. 

So How Can Teachers Effectively Teach Science? 

This is where literature meets science! How a science topic is introduced can greatly affect the interest that a student has in it. Science is based on problem-solving, and introducing the “problem” through a story can be a great way to capture the interest of young minds.

When the problem in the story is encountered, teachers can then pose the question to students: how can we solve this problem? Is there something we can build? What can we try out? How can we find out which solution works? 

This approach allows students to use their imaginations and introduces the concepts of engineering and scientific inquiry.

For students in any subject, linking content to real-world applications cements understanding and garners a greater appreciation for the subject. 

The art of storytelling is essential for this approach, but this skill is one that many elementary school teachers probably already have in their toolbox. A beautiful blend of fact and fiction can bring the love of science to many young students, and this has been proven effective from the popularity of The Magic School Bus series, an all-time favorite children’s book series. 

The Boon-Dah Learning System

Finding the right books to read is important to make this approach successful in the classroom. The Boon-Dah Learning System is designed to be easily integrated within the classroom, with illustrated storybooks that introduce situations requiring scientific intervention as a solution.

Teachers can also show how the solution is implemented with the paired DIY kits, which makes lessons fun and engaging and facilitates hands-on learning. This is one of the best ways to help your kids to start developing critical thinking skills.

Leave a comment below with your thoughts on using literature for teaching science and if you have any tips yourself!

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