You’ve probably heard and tried it all to engage your students in earth science. It’s tough to sustain students’ attention, never mind getting them excited, but we hope we can add some ideas to your list. After all, you have the important job of equipping the next generation of scientists to change the world.
Scientific concepts are difficult to communicate. Atif Kukaswasdia, a TEDx speaker, said: “There are two things that science needs to do: The first is we need to talk about why, and the second is that we need to tell a story.” Stories give context to the learner, helping them get more excited about the why!
Our science simulations use storytelling to get students excited about learning. In one of our Earth science virtual labs, learners communicate their findings to property developer Max so he can make an informed decision about a development plan that would pose detrimental effects on the water. Storylines like this get students thinking about real-life scenarios.
2. Use real-world inspiration
Using real-world examples can inspire students to action and help them pay attention in class. Climate change is unfortunately always a topical subject. You could use news about climate change, such as issues with corn cultivation in the midwest.
Labster even has a simulation where you can visit Farmer Greg to learn how carbon emissions affect his farm in Human Impact on Climate Change: Balance human emissions and a growing population.
3. Utilize a personal connection
Maybe you have a research project you’ve worked on and could share your findings with your students, or you know someone currently doing research. You could share these stories to get students excited about their learning. You could even bring in guest speakers (in-person or virtually) to share their efforts. Personally knowing someone involved in science makes it more memorable and interesting.
4. Encourage student collaboration
Collaboration can increase creativity; students bounce ideas off one another and develop better solutions than if they were on their own. We all have had group projects that weren’t exciting, but setting the stage for your students to have a successful group project is possible! Try giving them a complex problem to solve together and lay the groundwork to establish expectations for working together.
Some teachers teaching with Labster use interactive whiteboards or have students gather around with their laptops to play our simulations. Diane Sigales of Livingston High School shared her experience with Labster: “When students experience the gamification of Labster, they are engaged, they are excited, they are motivated to learn, which makes your job as a teacher that much easier.”
5. Take a field trip (in-person or virtually)
You could go on a trip to a science museum, partner with a local university/college, or visit nearby nature that could teach about geology you’re learning in class. If an in-person field trip is not accessible, there are tons of options for virtual field trips, and you can even go to places you wouldn’t otherwise be able to visit!
You’re not going to take your students on a spaceship, but with Labster, they can virtually go on a trip to delve into Earth’s history. With our hi-tech spaceship, they’ll be able to collate theories and data to simulate the Earth’s past, taking them back billions of years before life evolved.
In sum, here are the five tips to get your high school students excited about earth science:
Use real-world inspiration
Utilize a personal connection
Have students collaborate
Take a field trip (virtually or in-person)
What ways have you used to get your high school students excited about earth sciences?
Try Labster for 30 days and decide for yourself which virtual labs will excite your students most!