As a biology teacher, you want to do everything you can to make sure you run a good biology program. Running a great biology class helps to catch the attention of students and make science more engaging. It can also help to ensure students have a better understanding of biology and how biology can affect their lives both now and into the future. However, it can be hard to engage students and help them to make sense of some tough biology principles and lessons. Read on to learn more about how you can make your biology lessons more engaging and how to make your class a better one for yourself and your students.
Mix Up the Way You Teach
One of the best tips that you can keep in mind if you are trying to make a good biology class is to mix up the way that you teach. As a teacher, it is important that you keep in mind that different students learn in different ways. As such, you should try to teach in different ways. Some days you can get in front of the class and lecture, while other days you can have your students read from a book or complete hands-on experiments. Varying the way that you teach helps to ensure that every student in your class is taught in a way that makes sense to them and speaks to them. Ultimately, this increases engagement and helps biology to make sense to your students.
Apply Biology in a Practical Sense
Another important tip to helping teach a great biology class is to apply biology principles in lessons in a practical sense. What this means is that you should find a way to tie your lesson into something that interests or engages your students. Learning about a cell splitting into two can be boring. But, if you start talking about cells and how they are used for DNA, you are using terms that kids today are familiar with and can recognize. It makes it seem like biology is relevant to them and the world that they live in, which can be important to capturing and holding their attention.
Find Online Games and Simulations
Children today spend a lot of time on computers, tablets and cell phones. You would be doing yourself a great disservice as a teacher if you did not embrace these habits. One of the best ways to do so is to find online games and simulations that pertain to biology. Finding online games and simulations is a great way to get your students engaged in something pertaining to science and biology, without making them realize that they are learning in the process. Playing games can be fun and can be a great way for you to connect with your students.
Conduct a Lot of Experiments
As a teacher, it is important to look back on your life and recall what stands out to from when you were a student. Odds are, you may not remember the textbooks and busy work you completed, but you likely remember the hands-on activities or real-life demonstrations you saw. Use this as a teacher and be sure to conduct a lot of biology experiments for college or high school, use props and conduct demonstrations for your class. The more they can see for themselves, and the more hands-on experiences that they have, the more likely it is that they will remember what you taught them.
Take Biology-Centered Field Trips
It can be challenging to find money and transportation for field trips. But, if you are able to, another great resource for teachers who are looking to improve their biology class is to take biology field trips. Once again, kids remember things that are different and unique. They are not going to remember reading a book in a classroom, but they are going to remember taking a field trip somewhere. Look into local locations that your class can visit to learn about a biology principal you are trying to teach at the time.
Use Polls to Encourage Participation
While taking field trips and completing experiments is fun, there will be days where students need to read textbooks or listen as you lecture. One of the ways that you can increase their engagement and help to ensure they list is to use polls to encourage participation. If students know you are going to poll the class to ask for an opinion or answer, they are more likely to pay attention. They are also more likely to feel like what they have to say or what they think actually matters, which is important to creating a safe space and increasing engagement.
Utilize Videos or Media to Find New Speakers
Lastly, when possible, utilize videos or other types of media to find new speakers. Instead of always listening to you talk, you can find lesson plans on YouTube or other streaming sites where someone new is talking to your class. Having a different speaker helps to break up monotony, while also helping to capture different students’ attention. Different students react to different phrases, tones and voices differently, so having someone else reiterate the things you have been saying in a different way may be extremely beneficial for students and may help them to better grasp concepts.
Making a biology class more engaging for your students and finding ways to make biology more interesting can help students to better understand biology and have a more natural interest in the subject.