LESSON 13. Our Science Corner: Making Our Classrooms Science Friendly
Grade Level: 7-9
2. Overview Some students in the Junior Secondary school may be lucky to have their science lessons taught in a special science laboratory. However for a vast majority, science at that level will be taught in a conventional classroom. It is therefore the duty of the science teacher to organise the classroom to make it science learner friendly. Both the teacher and the students should take responsibility of looking after a science corner in the classroom.
3. Purpose The purpose of this lesson is to show how to organise and maintain an active science corner in a conventional classroom.
4. Objectives Students will be able to:
i. Identify a science corner in a conventional classroom
5. Resources/materials Various items collected from the community environment by both students and teacher. The items as much as is possible should not be perishable.
6. Activities and Procedures Science at the Junior Secondary School [JSS] level is referred to as Integrated Science. In this, the usual boundaries of Physics, Chemistry and Biology are not emphasised. Science, as much as is possible taught as a Unit. This concept if integration in science is universally accepted. The problem however is the classroom implementation. Many science teachers at the JSS level still regard themselves as either a biologist, chemist or physicist. The result is that certain aspects of the curriculum are neglected or poorly taught. A science teacher at this level, aware of the outlined problems, should be prepared to develop necessary skills.
There is also the aspect of teaching science at the JSS level in a conventional, well equipped science laboratory. In practical economic terms, building and furnishing JSS laboratories has created a lot of problems in many countries in Africa. It is for that reason that this lesson tries to guide the JSS teacher so that good and challenging science could be taught in a moderately equipped classroom. Teachers are being urged to make their JSS classrooms science friendly.
A science friendly JSS Integrated Science classroom is one in which the teacher has accepted the challenge to teach good science to the students. In addition to the usual basic materials in the classrooms, the class has a Science Corner. A science corner as the name implies, is a special corner in the classroom with a conveniently big table with lots of materials for studying science. These materials would have been contributed by the students and the teachers. The materials on the table are well organised for ease of locating items. That table is the store house of the simple specimens which are often required for teaching Integrated Science.
The teacher should make the students realise that the responsibility of keeping the science table orderly is that of all the students and the teacher. In certain cases, the students take turns in looking after the items in the science corner. In that way, the science corner is made learner friendly.
Certain specialised pieces of equipment may still be necessary for teaching integrated science. With that awareness, many school systems in Africa have invested in the local fabrication and distribution of basic science equipment. Teachers should find out if such an arrangement exists in their school district, and if it does, they should take advantage of the opportunity. Relevant science equipment are packaged, ready for use in the conventional classrooms. A school in which relevant basic science equipment are available can make the classrooms science friendly and also learner friendly.
It is also a good practice for schools to have a special room or store where the pieces of science equipment could be kept when not in use. Someone, possibly someone designated as a Science Resource Person, should be in charge of the store for science equipment.
Finally, classrooms in which science is taught should be adorned with Science Wall charts, some of which are purchased from suppliers while some are designed by the teacher and the students. When all of these along with a properly arranged science corner are present in a classroom, that classroom can become a science friendly classroom.
7. Tying it all together A science friendly classroom is a combined effort between the class teacher, the students and the school management. In a science friendly classroom, both formal and mon-formal science teaching and learning can take place.
8. Assessment Students and the class teacher should compare their classroom with other classrooms in the school. They can conclude which classrooms are science friendly and learner friendly.
9. Author(s) S. T. Bajah email@example.com
10. References Bajah, S. T. and C. Omoifo.(1998) Teaching Integrated Science Creatively Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press