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Elementary Science Education

How can I get kids to remember?

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    • #7576

      Bernard Nebel

      We all aspire to having our kids remember what they learn in a given lessons, but we are often taken aback by their drawing blanks in subsequent quizzing. “How can I get kids to remember???” is a common question. The need for subsequent reviews and drills is the usual answer, but I believe that these may fall short of the real goal.

      Consider: The real goal of scientific learning to bring kids to the point where they actually use scientific principles and concepts to their benefit in rational interpretation and understanding of what they see and experience in the real world. Consider it analogous to learning a new vocabulary word. The real learning has occurred not when the kid can mark the correct definition on a test. It is when the kid starts making use of the word in expressing her/his own thoughts and experiences.

      Relating this to remembering science lessons, reviews should go beyond having kids recite pat answers. They should seek to have kids apply what they have learned in interpreting what they may be observing. For example, after kids have covered the beginning lessons of matter and energy (A-2, and C-1) a review might include something like this: In frying an egg with your kid watching, you might ask in a pondering, sequential sort of way: Are energy and matter involved here? What is the matter? What is the energy? What is the energy doing to the matter? This sort of Q and A can be done with all sorts of household chores, e.g., vacuuming the floor, watching a mopped floor dry, etc. You will know that the ideas have really taken hold when kids start pointing out their own examples.

      The sections at the end of each lesson (unabridged edition): “Questions/Discussion/Activities …” and “To Parents and Others Providing Support”  may provide ideas along this line, but I invite all to contribute your own questions and examples. I will be delighted to hear how it goes.

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