The arguments for chemistry being one of the toughest subjects are endless.
We blame the long list of chemical compounds and reactions that have to be memorised or the fact that a decent science teacher is hard to come by. Sometimes it’s the chemistry syllabus and textbook that takes the brunt of our aversion for this branch of science.
And this isn’t a new trend. Every generation seems to have had a certain amount of misgivings when it comes to taking high school chemistry or just a trepidation for science in general.
Could it be because of how science is presented to kids in the classroom?
If we invested more into our chemistry labs and organised fun science projects for kids wouldn’t this help? There is a tendency for science to be presented as book-work instead of the fascinating and tangible subject that it really is.
The good news is that this can change and the next generation can be presented with cool science from the start. Hopefully we’ll have a huge wave of new learners who aspire to become scientists!
As we continue we’ll outline some strategies that may change discouraged students' perception of chemistry and science as a whole. Kids could realise that:
- Chemistry classes aren’t just for high academic achievers.
- There are some seriously riveting chemistry topics that can be explored by taking chemistry courses.
- Being interested in physics or chemistry doesn’t make you a nerd (look at Tony Stark!)
How to Make Kids Science Fun Again
It’s normal for learners to stop enjoying certain subjects as they progress through their school career. This isn’t always a bad thing as kids will naturally start to understand where their strengths and interests lie. However sometimes there are other reasons:
- Some educators fail to present subject matter in a captivating manner that appeals to kids and inspires a love for science topics.
- Not all learners thrive in a regular classroom environment and struggle to focus with all the distractions.
- The content is delivered in a way that doesn’t appeal to all learners with little attention given to different learning styles.
But learners needn’t suffer through frustrating chemistry classes or any subject for that matter. There are simple steps that kids can take to feel more empowered and motivated.
If there is an issue keeping up with science coursework then learners should feel free to ask their educators for help and guidance at the end of a period. If there’s a specific chemistry question then it’s a learner’s right to ask their teacher to explain.
It’s also possible for students to ask teachers for some pointers if there are specific areas of physics, chemistry or biology that they’re interested in. They may even be able to suggest appropriate science experiments that kids could try at home or offer for them to use the chemistry lab after school.
This is the age of information and technology and learners should be encouraged to use the vast resources of the internet to their advantage and take their science to the next level with online chemistry classes and tutorials of fun experiments to try at home.
For anyone that really wants to enrich their chemistry knowledge and isn’t finding the stimulation they need in the classroom, here are some more ways to do this on your own:
- Don’t expect to learn everything from your chemistry textbook, do some extra reading and find interesting chemistry books that appeal to you personally.
- Watch a scientific TV show.
- Listen to podcasts on science topics that interest you such as astrophysics, thermodynamics or nuclear-chemistry.
You, the Student, Are Capable of Big Things!
No matter your age or knowledge of chemistry, there’s a great learning resource out there for everyone! Whether that’s a book, a tutor or a podcast – it’s all up to you.
Have some science fun and put together your very own lab that you can use to do all kinds of exciting chemistry experiments. And yes, it would be awesome to have proper equipment like beakers, test tubes and a microscope but you might be surprised at what you can construct with simple products you can find around the house.
There are so many home science experiments that take very little effort to prepare for and sometimes require as little as two ingredients such as sugar and water!
Did you know that you’re actually performing feats of chemistry every day without even realising it?
Take baking for example, a variety of ingredients are combined and then heated to a temperature that actually changes their molecular structure!
Encourage Children to Attempt Their Own Science Experiments
Doing hands on science in the classroom is such an effective teaching tool because children are curious by nature and are effortlessly intrigued by even the most simple science experiment.
It’s not difficult to think of some easy science experiments for kids to do themselves within the classroom environment.
A pinch of imagination and a dash of knowledge could result in a life changing science experiment that will set a learner onto a path of a lifelong love of chemistry.
It’s far easier to explain chemical reactions when we use a real-time experiment. Something as simple as adding baking soda to vinegar can instil basic chemistry principles into a young mind.
More Reasons Why Fun Science Experiments Should Be a Golden Standard in the Classroom:
- Experimentation is something that all learners of all academic strengths can relate to and easily comprehend through observation.
- Doing experiments as graded science activities is a refreshing break from regular assessments and will appeal to visual oriented learners.
- Just as a picture tells a thousand words, so does a science experiment. Some science is just easier done than said!
Learners should be reminded that even if they don’t get to do that many experiments at school, there’s no reason why they can’t pursue their own easy science experiments at home – just remember: “Safety first!”
If you’re worried about finding science experiment resources then don’t be! The internet is full of awesome educational websites dedicated to all things science, not to mention the thousands of YouTube videos out there too. From chemical-reaction projects like how to make slime to experiments on magnetism, it’s a science adventure just waiting to happen!
Fortunately a lot of easy science experiments aimed towards kids are often quick to do and don’t call for expensive ingredients.
Think of the Mentos in Coca-Cola experiment or making a tornado in a jar (for this all you need is water, dish soap and vinegar). Could it get any easier?
Why Encourage Children to Pursue Chemistry (and Maths)?
Often times the real reason why learners may be hesitant to learn chemistry or any of the sciences isn’t because of a lack of interest but more a lack of faith in their own abilities.
Chemistry education and science in general isn’t only an appropriate choice if a learner is exceptionally gifted or academic, this is a terrible misconception that holds so many youngsters back.
The truth is that some learners may struggle to grasp fundamental scientific concepts merely because they have a poor foundation in other learning areas such as mathematics.
Maths is put into practice within the spectrum of science in various manners:
- Both algebra and geometry are used to solve physics formulae.
- Mathematics is also essential for balancing chemical equations.
There are an endless amount of scenarios where math and science go hand in hand.
As such, when students lack confidence in their maths skills they tend to shy away from subjects such as chemistry and physical science that require a substantial understanding of mathematical principles.
And no, not everyone is mathematically inclined but there’s always the possibility to improve and thus open up the doors to the world of science. Learners that may not be passionate about maths could very well have a passion for science and engineering.
If a learner is lacking in mathematical skill all this means is that they will need a little extra guidance because chemistry is one of those subjects that just can’t be separated from math.
Teachers may provide additional worksheets to assist with particular areas that need attention. And it could be worth getting a tutor to guide an uncertain learner through their homework.
In the same breath, issues with chemistry may also simply stem from an inadequate knowledge of fundamental chemistry principles.
Imagine trying to grasp the idea of chemical compounds and reactions if you don’t even know the basic elements such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen etc. and their correlating symbols.
Getting on Track With Chemistry
Perhaps you yourself are having struggles with high school science and dreading your chemistry tests and exams. Whether it’s because of your maths or simply that you feel there are gaps in your scientific knowledge, you can put your worries to rest. It’s never too late to learn and there are plenty of brilliant ways that you can boost your knowledge (and your marks).
A simple yet effective tip is to back track and revise previous lessons. Sometimes this may even mean revising the previous year’s work. You may find that you’re struggling to comprehend a new topic of chemistry such as acids and bases and that the reason for this is because you have forgotten what you learned in a previous chapter.
However, there are times when it’s just better to reach out to someone more knowledgeable, such as a private tutor, to get you back on track. It will probably save you time and really give you the confidence you need to ace your next chemistry test!
At Superprof you’ll find a broad network of excellent math and science tutors who can give you that special attention you don’t get at school. They’ll pick up your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
A personal tutor can help you to build solid skills such as:
- Solving chemical equations.
- Memorising the periodic table
- Chemistry experiments.
You could choose an at-home tutor or get online tutoring and work with a brilliant instructor from another part of the world!