Classroom Management Techniques

If you’ve never presented a science lesson to children before, consider using the following tips to maximize the impact of your visit:

  • Make eye contact with the children and try to use their names. Kids love personal attention.
  • Smile and don’t be afraid to use humor. Kids love a good laugh.
  • Request student volunteers to help you distribute materials, samples, and hand-outs. Children love to feel important.
  • Ask students to raise their hands for permission to participate; otherwise, they may all try to talk at once.
  • Use a pre-arranged signal (like clapping or holding up two fingers) to ask for quiet before you give directions. Inquire about existing signals in place at the school.
  • Stop and wait for attention from everyone. This will ensure that students will settle down and pay attention to you every time you ask.
  • Give short oral directions, and show students what you want them to do.
  • After giving directions, provide time for students to work with equipment. Stop them if you want to provide an explanation, give the next direction, or say something to the whole class. Students can handle equipment or they can listen, but they cannot do both at the same time.
  • Periodically, check to see that everyone is following along by having students hold something up or give you a thumbs-up when they are ready for the next step.
  • Give the group thinking time after you ask a question. Each child needs time to think about the question before someone answers it. Do not jump to your own rescue if a question is unanswered. Be patient and, if necessary, re-phrase the question.
  • Try to catch children being good and praise attentive and helpful behavior, which you want to encourage for all students.
  • Use everyday examples and simple language to make science fun and accessible for children.
  • Help students see that science is an important part of their lives.
  • Enjoy the children, their enthusiasm, and their sense of wonder. They have a fascinating perspective on the world.