Science Engagement Observation

There were two presentations made with this group. The first was Materials and Properties, which was aimed at a year 4 class. The second presentation was Living and Non-Living things which was aimed at a year 3 class. These presentations were to engage students with the topics and give the group a chance to present a science lesson. Engagement of students in science is important, as it is essential for their future (Gregson, 2012).

Science engagement declines as the students’ progress into high school, however by comprehensively engaging the students at a primary level it can help students see the benefit of high school science (Logan & Skamp, 2008). Engagement is multi dimensional, it is not just a student look at the teacher while they teach. Full engagement requires behavioral, emotional and cognitive components (Gregson, 2012). By having all of those components activated within the students’ the benefits are numerous.

Motivation to do their work and do it well is higher, this also has a run off effect to increasing self confidence in science (Gregson, 2012). When a student is fully engaged academic success within school and further education is more attainable (Gregson, 2012). Most importantly their engagement with the scientific process increases which in turn creates a curiosity in science (Mant, Wilson, & Coates, 2007). Lesson Background – Materials and Properties In the topic materials and properties students need to finish the lesson understanding why the properties of materials make then useful for certain tasks.

When referring to the word ‘material’ it is referring to what objects are made of, that material has specific properties which dictates why it is used in a certain way (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2005). All objects are made with chemicals and the chemical structure and composition determines the properties that a material has (Australian Academy of Science, 2012). These different properties have words to explain them such as absorbency, strength, flexibility, elasticity, malleability, transparency, viscosity, density, opacity, hardness, conductive and brittleness (AAS, 2012).

All of these terms would need to be explained to students, as they would not have come across some of these terms before. An example of how to explain key terms; Absorbency – Absorbency refers to the amount of liquid that a material can take in. Materials that are absorbent have surfaces that attract water, which is called hydrophilic. This means the material contains small spaces where liquids can enter, the higher number of spaces means the more liquid that a material can absorb. If the material is wet when it is squeezed or twisted the liquid is released.

Materials that are absorbent are paper, some fabrics, sponges and wood (AAS, 2012). Waterproof – Waterproof materials have surfaces that repel water. This is called hydrophobic. These materials do no have the small spaces for liquid to enter into. These materials are not affected by or absorb liquids. Materials that can be waterproof are plastic, rubber and glass (AAS, 2012). Malleable – Materials that are malleable can be hammered, pressed our molded out of shape. For example thin metal sheets can be hammered into a bowl and contain that shape.

All malleable materials have limits every material will have a certain point where it will break or molded so it cannot be reversed. Materials that are malleable are plasticine, some rubber and some plastics (AAS, 2012). When objects have different properties they are suitable for different uses. For example rubber is used for balloons, this is because rubber stretches to hold the air (DEECD, 2012). Wood is used to make wooden spoons, as it does not conduct heat, this means you do not get burnt while cooking (DEECD, 2012). Waterproof gloves are a good example of different materials being used for multiple purposes.

The glove has an outer layer, which is waterproof usually made from plastic and an inner layer of material such as wool to keep the hand warm. Learning about materials and properties is valuable for students so they can understand why we use certain materials for particular purposes, it also makes them aware of their environment and what is keeping them warm, dry and protected. Lesson Background – Living Things In the topic Living things students need to finish the lesson understanding what characteristics that living and non-living things have.

Life on earth generally has characteristics such as (AAS, 2012); Being made up of one or more cells that has a regulated internal compositions – Being able to digest energy, through eating or photosynthesis – Reproduce – Grow – Respond to its environment around it When teaching students to classify living or non-living things it is important to give them criteria to make informed decisions. It is important to use the terms living and non- living as using the word ‘dead’ for objects such as a phone implies it was once living (DEECD, 2012). Non-living things such as wooden tables, paper and leaves on the ground need to be classified as once living.

Students can classify items by using the acronym MRSGREN (AAS, 2012); M – Movement, allows living thing to change their position to obtain water, air, food, protection or a mate. R – Reproduction, create similar living things to themselves to survive through time. S – Sensitivity, living things respond to a changing environment to survive. I. e. moving away for a fire. G – Growth, living things can increase in size and repair damaged parts by taking in nutrients and using them as building blocks. R – Respiration, all living things require energy. Respiration allows living things to release energy from food.

Plants differ as they produce their own food and use it later as an energy source. E – Elimination, all living things create waste, which needs to be removed from the organism so it doesn’t become poison. N – Nutrition, living things require food for the nutrients, which are required for growth, energy and reproduction. When looking at plants it can be hard to identify all of the characteristics as they do not act the same way as animals, insects and humans. This is when common sense comes and experience helps decide weather it is living, for example a branch that has fallen off a tree vs. a tree with one leaf.

It is likely the branch is dead or previously living while that tree is living (DEECD, 2012). When looking at the topic living and non-living things students need to be aware of the ethics around investigating living things. Students need to be familiar with a code of caring so they do not harm any living things. Students learn about living and non-living things so they can understand that not just animals and humans are alive. It is also valuable for students to learn the difference between living, non-living and was living so that they understand not all items are just classified alive or dead.