Help from Other Adults in Science Lessons

How can you use other adults (like parents) in Kide Science lessons to help further improve the experience for your young scientists?

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10-Part Teacher Training Series

In our 10-part series of teacher training, we will walk you through the topics and practicalities including transitions in Kide Lessons, pedagogical tips, questions, assessment, storytelling, children’s agency & preparation, drama approach, group management, adult’s role & home experiment, and scientific arguments behind the Kide-approach.

Video Transcript

Hi again!

In this video, we will think about incorporating additional adults at Kide science lessons, and we will also think about the home experiments a bit further. Even if you don't have any additional adults at your lessons at the moment, if you don't have any assistant teachers or parents, it is still good to think about these things.

Perhaps through thinking about the adult's role in the lessons, you might even consider having some additional help in your lessons to make them run even smoother. Kide Science lessons are planned in a way that you, as a teacher, should be able to handle them by yourself very easily. However, how this works in practice, it depends completely on the amount of children you have in your group. For instance, if you have, Let's say 15 3-year-olds, an extra pair of hands could be extremely helpful, right? So you can have assisting teachers. Or if you run these killer science lessons as an extracurricular activity, you can also invite parents to join the lessons.

This can be an extremely nice way for the parents and the children to have a common hobby to do things together and learn together. However, with adults and especially with parents, you have to help them understand what their role really is because the adults might think it's their job to keep the pace and do things for the children.

If the children are lagging behind or struggling, this is completely normal, and it's okay in some other settings. But with Kide Science pedagogy, we feel like it's important for the children to actually do the things by themselves, and the adult role is really just to assist the child, and should they need help, to help them with these guiding questions.

Also, one important role for the adults is just to enjoy the science adventure with the children. The role of an adult as a supporter and not a demander is very important to allow the children to really freely explore and to start trusting in their own abilities.

One way we try and make this pedagogical choice clear is with role marks. The children's role as scientists, the lead role in this science play is indicated and reinforced with their scientist jackets. And the assistant role of adults is indicated by research assistant badges like this. If you realize that an adult is not really staying in the assisting role, you can simply help them remember this by indicating that they have this badge.

The adults can, of course, also assist a teacher, not just the children. So, they can assist the teacher with anything that might need help with, with the equipment and other hands-on tasks, and just to keep the children engaged in what's happening at the class. At the moment, we feel and the research also shows that it's extremely important having families involved.

One way we have the families involved is with home experiments. Our home experiments are designed in a way that children get to continue with the same phenomena, and maybe approach it just slightly from a different angle. By continuing with the same subject, the children also get to deepen their understanding of the phenomena.

Children tend to be quite context-dependent, because in a way that if they learn something at a science lesson, they might not remember it outside the lesson without some proper probing. So here, the home experiments are an excellent bridge between the science lesson and the children's everyday environment.

Also, children get to show their parents and their siblings what they have learned at the lesson by doing the home experiment. We bring scientific exploration and phenomena to children's everyday life, because science is all around us, and scientific exploration can be done every day. If we get the parent to take part in the home experiment with the children, this allows the parent to also see the beauty of the method. It hopefully also encourages the parent to support the children.

We believe we get the best results when parents are involved in the children's journey to become a curious, critically thinking,  skillful person.

Now I have a few small tasks for you. Look at your next lesson plan and see if you can find out spots already from the lesson plan where you think the children might need help.

Then pay attention to the additional adults (if there are any) at your lesson, and really encourage them to get involved in the right way. It might be enough to tell them what their role is if it looks like they don't know. Also, if you notice that some of the adults, the parents, or the assisting teachers start overtaking the roles of the children or their chores, you can just encourage them to let the children take charge.

Another small task is to really see how the children talk about the home experiment. Pay attention to this a bit and really encourage them and praise them for doing such an important job, and doing their home experiments well. It's important that they feel like this is also part of their science lesson and an important part of it.

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