We all want our children to be engaged and concentrate on their studies, right?
But, it usually doesn’t always happen.
Both teachers and parents more often pester our kids to study.
And why pester?
Kids should want to learn plus explore.
Probably because children don’t mind learning so much as they don’t relate to the way learning is provided.
Now, teaching children a simple concept like the difference between revolution and rotation of the Earth can be made so fascinating.
But, if it is simply read out in the classroom, it will not excite their curiosity.
However, if we make it exciting and thrilling, they will be curious to know more. Hence, they will start their own journey of self-learning. Simply, because they found the method of teaching interesting.
The content was still the same. !!
Undoubtedly, teachers are constantly doing their best. They are constantly innovating and seeking new methods to enhance students learning skills. Another practice they follow is to reflect on past lessons and see how the next lesson can be improved. There are many teaching methods.
Active Learning is one of the best ways for children to understand and retain lessons better. And Project-Based Learning promotes active learning. Additionally, it fosters teamwork and coordination as well as critical thinking and problem-solving.
What are Critical Thinking Skills?
Critical Thinking is a 21st-century skill. Teaching children to be critical thinkers is beneficial for them.
With this skill, they can apply their reasoning to assess facts and come to a conclusion. They take into consideration all the information before them, apply their logic and hence make informed decisions.
This helps them not only academically but is a real-world skill as well.
Undeniably, activities and projects promote critical thinking. In activity based learning, students look for solutions to solve problems or create models for lessons. Clearly, students have to get together and brainstorm. This encourages them to think and develop critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking invokes the reasoning power inherent in every child. Moreover, it makes them independent thinkers, while showing them how to work as a team.
The major critical thinking skills are:
- Problem Solving
Developing Critical Skills through Activity-Based Lessons
Now, what does an activity have to do with critical thinking? A lot, we say.
Suppose, you are given to project to work on, how would you approach it?
Similarly, when kids are given ownership of a project and activity, they have to apply their minds to creating it.
Moreover, students will have to form a sequential pipeline flow so the activity is completed on time and in the best possible manner.
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They will form a team, delegate tasks, and do the research. Thereafter they will work in a logical manner to give a logical output. All the above tasks require critical thinking skills.
Case Study: Activity Based Learning to understand the Rotation and Revolution of the Earth
Let’s look at some activities to teach kids about the Earth’s movements.
- The Focus Skills are: Analysing, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving
The Expected Learning outcomes include
- Understanding the difference between rotation and revolution
- Understanding what an orbital path is
- Learn what causes day and night
- Learn how much time it takes for the Earth to complete one rotation and one revolution
Scientific Definitions for Students
Firstly, Let’s define some of the important terms of the lesson
- Axis: The imaginary line around which the Earth spins.
- Rotation: Rotation means spinning around a central point. For instance, the Earth spins on its own axis.
- Revolution: When the Earth moves around the sun in its gravitational field and along an orbital path, then its called revolution.
Divide students into small groups.
The teacher will put up some questions.
For instance, the teacher can ask- Do you know why we have seasons?
Use the think-pair-share method. In this the teacher will put some questions, Students can come up with individual answers and then discuss them in pairs and the groups can present a compiled answer.
Pair up two students.
Position one student in one spot.
Now around that students draw an elliptical circle.
Now, ask the other student to move around the first student on the line.
That’s called revolution.
Explain that it takes one earth year to complete one revolution.
Now ask the Earth student to stand in place and spin around in the same location.
The other students will Say Stop when he faces the Sun.
Now, you can explain that when he’s facing the sun that side is daytime and his other side is night time.
Now ask him to spin again and when he turns 180 degrees, the other students instruct him to stop.
Again explain on which side of Earth it’s daytime and which side is night time.
– Using objects for comparison
Students should observe a moving fan.
Ask them to describe the movement.
The blades of the fan mover around the down rod.
Basically, it’s moving around its axis.
Hence, this explains rotation.
Similarly, ask them to take an old tyre and ask the students to move a ball inside the hollow of the tyre.
Hence, explain that the ball is moving in an orbit within the pull of another bigger object.
So then, that’s how the Earth moves around the sun
And, it is called revolution.
Indeed, teaching should balance the academic concepts as well as promote learning skills. Accordingly, teachers teaching class 8 science syllabus can use activity-based learning to promote critical thinking. Moreover, these are low-cost learning aids that increase student engagement.