You’re at the whiteboard explaining the physics chapter to your students and you’re noticing quite a few of them nodding off. It’s frustrating because you feel like you’re wasting your breath on them. You just can’t get them interested.
Don’t worry, it happens to many teachers. It can be hard to make a subject like physics fun and engaging to high schoolers. Note we said hard, not impossible.
All you have to do is come up with the right physics teaching methods to break through to them. To help you with your lesson plan, here are a few tips that will get their minds ready to explore.
1. Have Confidence in Them
For students with low self-esteem, if they can tell that you have no confidence in them, they will be hesitant to even try and understand physics. So the first step for making the subject fun for your students is to show that you believe in them.
You can do this by giving them examples of geniuses in history who also struggled with physics but were still widely successful in the world of science. You can also show them that they can do it by doing little hands-on projects with them.
2. Inspire Initiative
One way that you can get them excited to learn about physics is to give some examples of how it’s used in things that they may be interested in. This will give them some initiative to learn more about it.
You can also do activities with the students rather than simply doing them and allowing them to watch. Walk around the room and if you notice a student who needs a little nudge, go over to them and start doing the activity with them.
As they start to catch on, let them take the wheel. This will give them the initiative they need to keep going or do the activity all by themselves next time.
3. Make the Homework Reasonable
If you make the homework unreasonable, the students won’t be excited to do it and therefore learn. To this end, it needs to be a good mixture of challenging and easy. If it’s too challenging then they will get frustrated and could end up not completing it at all.
If it’s too easy, then they’ll complete it but it won’t be fun. It won’t feel like this big accomplishment anymore.
Lastly, even if the homework is easy, if you haven’t covered a chapter in its entirety it could be unwise to assign homework on it. You need to make sure they have had time to absorb the information before you set them loose.
4. Talk with Them One-on-One
Similar to walking around the classroom to work with students that seem to be struggling, you should talk one-on-one with them. If you’re speaking with the student by themselves you can encourage them.
There’s also the fact that some shyer students won’t raise their hand and ask questions during class. This means that if they are struggling you won’t know about it until you do address them by themselves.
5. Keep in Touch with Parents
Students don’t only need encouragement from you. They need it from their parents as well. It’s true that parents may want to help them or encourage them but they don’t know how to help.
They could benefit from you reaching out to them and giving them some ideas about what they can do. You could tell them the best approach to help them with their physics homework or let them know what they seem to respond to in class.
6. Try out Whole Brain Teaching
This approach sort of takes the student and puts them in the place of the master. You give them the lesson and then set them loose to teach each other. This is good for two reasons.
If a child knows enough about the lesson to teach another child, then you know you’re going in the right direction with your teaching methods or that they are absorbing the information anyway. You never know, one student may be able to get through to another student where you can’t. Everyone has a different way of explaining things and learning.
It’s also fun for the students and teaches them a valuable lesson on helping each other.
When it comes to subjects such as physics, students may get stressed with passing or earning a grade. Gamification takes this focus of making a good grade and shifts it towards winning some kind of game or prize instead.
For example, you could give students points for each time they have their homework on their desk when asked or points for every time they show their work on problems. These points can be applied to some sort of prize or for extra credit.
You could have a class question and answer activity that sort of works like a game show where they earn points. This creates friendly competition and takes their thought process away from grades.
Physics Teaching Tips that Will Help Your High Schoolers Have Fun with the Subject
When it comes to physics teaching, you may notice that some of your students are snoozing off. You can’t seem to keep their attention on the whiteboard. You can change this with the right methods though.
Try out some of the tips on this list to help your highschoolers have fun with physics.
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Jan H saysat
I’m teaching physics for the first time this semester and found this blog post very helpful, especially during the first week. Thanks for sharing!