Science is a subject that is so logical and sequential in nature that it appears teaching science must be very easy for teachers. But ask a science teacher and he will tell you how hard it is to teach science to students in classrooms. A science teacher asks students to grasp theories and laws that require giving up many of their beliefs and logical understanding. This is why lesson planning in science becomes so important for the teacher. It is like coming up with a skeleton and then teaching according to the questions raised by students in a flexible manner.
Why is it important to plan a lesson?
A teacher may be very competent, experienced, and well trained. But in order to make sure that his students are able to understand what he is teaching, he needs to come up with a plan as to how he will explain the topic in the classroom. This plan should be based upon the learning process of the students and how well they are able to grasp and retain the lesson after the class is over.
In the profession of teaching, lesson planning in science serves the purpose of a very important tool in the hands of a teacher. It is not readymade equipment that the teacher can use. It is a unique creation of every individual teacher that he designs based upon the lesson he is going to teach and the level of intelligence of his students. It takes a lot of effort on the part of the teacher to come up with a lesson plan. It needs to be flexible enough with several alternatives to take a different route when students raise their doubts or ask questions.
Understanding the concept of lesson planning
Lesson planning in science has assumed so much importance these days that it is being taught as a discipline on its own in teacher training courses. Teachers are trained to create a map in their mind with the objective of reaching the endpoint in a flexible manner with the option of taking various routes according to their requirements. It is like a GPS set up inside the brain of the teacher that guides him about the route to be taken in the wake of an impediment coming in his way.
If you are a science teacher and you have not attended a training program where lesson planning in science is taught, there is no need to worry. There are many ways in which you can learn to plan a lesson before entering the classroom. One of these methods is called the EPIBA model. You can understand lesson planning with this model and use it as a starting point to create lesson plans according to your own unique circumstances.
What is EPIBA Model?
EPIBA is an acronym that stands for Engage, Prior learning, Introduce, Build, and Apply
This approach of lesson planning takes into account what the students have learned about the subject earlier and aims to build upon this knowledge base to help students grasp and retain the lesson.
Another method of lesson planning in science is called the unit method. This method is credited to H. C. Morrison from the University of Chicago. A unit is a small part of the subject matter and the teacher involves students with the help of interesting activities to make him understand the concept. The objective of the teacher in this method is to make sure that the student is able to apply the concept when dealing with different situations in his life.
Basic idea behind lesson planning
Teaching science is different from teaching humanities where the teacher merely states the facts or gives out a set of instructions. Science is not just learning and understanding but also critical thinking and judging. Lesson planning in science constitutes both a tool as well as a method of implementation. In a way, lesson planning improves the quality of teaching in science.
Different pupils have different levels of capabilities to grasp a subject being taught by a teacher. Lesson planning makes sure that the teacher is able to take along every pupil in his class in such a way that he is able to understand and retain the lesson. Lesson planning makes a teacher feel confident about himself and he is able to achieve the objectives of his class.
Basic things required for a lesson plan
Now that you have understood the importance of lesson planning, it is important to know what you need to create a lesson plan. Basically, a teacher needs three things to create a lesson plan before entering the classroom. These are as follows.
- Aims and objectives of the subject
- Activities needed for learning
- Tests to assess the understanding of students
A lesson plan cannot be made by having a clear understanding of the aims and objectives of the course. This understanding helps the teacher in making sure that his students are able to grasp the lesson and also apply it in different life situations. The lesson should help students in improving their understanding of the course.
Once the teacher has a full understanding of these aims and objectives, he has to create a lesson plan that makes it easy for the students to understand the lesson. It is the responsibility of the teacher to explain the same point in different ways so that no student is left behind and there is no student who does not grasp the lesson. One way to make this possible is to give examples from real-life situations. If the lesson does not apply directly to real life, the teacher should make use of hypothetical situations to create examples for students.
It has been found that students find it easier to understand the lesson when they are shown videos explaining the topic. Also, students pick up the concept easily when they are made to take part in interesting learning activities associated with the lesson. A teacher faces a severe time crunch to take the help of such activities as he has to arrange them during the time period of the class. It requires great time management on the part of the teacher to not just do all the explanation with examples but also organize all learning activities within the same time period.
The last important ingredient for the creation of a lesson plan is the assessment methods to be used by the teacher to evaluate the understanding of his students. He has to ask different questions and elicit responses from his students to check whether they have understood the concept behind the lesson. These questions have to be prepared by the teachers in advance and they don’t need to be changed because of what has happened in the classroom.
Advantages of lesson planning in science
Lesson planning plays the same role in teaching that is played by hard preparation done by a student before taking an exam. If the teacher is well prepared, the chances of his success improve considerably. A teacher has limited time to teach lots of lessons to his students and he has to make sure that his pupils understand them. He has to also check their understanding through assessments in this limited time.
By taking the help of lesson planning, a teacher can save his time and complete the curriculum in time. He can make sure that his students are able to understand the lessons and he is able to achieve the aims and objectives of the course. The time saved by lesson planning can be utilized by the teacher to help weak students. He gets a lot of satisfaction because he knows that there is no confusion in the minds of his students and they have a clear understanding of the lessons taught to them.
It is difficult for a teacher to attain the aims and objectives of his course if he goes to teach the students without doing lesson planning. Such a teacher is really unprepared in the true sense of the word. It is easy to see that many of his students will not be able to get a clear understanding of the lessons taught by him in the classroom. These students never feel confident about their knowledge of the subject and they feel inferior to students who are taught by a teacher doing lesson planning.
Lesson planning has assumed great significance in professional circles these days. A teacher not having learned lesson planning or not indulging in this exercise is viewed as unprofessional by a fellow teacher and even his students are not satisfied with his performance in the classroom.
In a time and age of internet and fast modes of communication, it is really a crime on the part of a teacher not to make use of such a wonderful tool. In fact, such a teacher is wasting his own time and effort and also doing a great disservice to society by preparing less knowledgeable students. If you are a teacher teaching science, you can improve your own and that of your students by utilizing lesson planning.