Science educators know that diverse engagement methods in the classroom are linked to higher learning outcomes in students, but science education research is just beginning to consider this pedagogical perspective. In this qualitative research study, 70 preschool students, 6 teachers, and 3 assistant teachers/assistant researchers in a Turkish classroom were studied in order to examine how early science education can effectively be more than “hands-on” or activity-based. Findings suggest there are many ways, with examples provided, to facilitate and encourage young students’ knowledge, interest, and experience in science.
Understanding the foundations of the constructivist paradigm is essential to understanding and effectively implementing hands-on, heads-on, and hearts-on (3Hs) science education. Now famous educators and educational theorists, such as Dewey, Piaget, and Montessori, believed that children actively “construct” their knowledgeable understanding of the world around them based on personal experiences. Acknowledging this active participation in their own learning processes is, according to constructivists, a critical component of facilitating children’s education. Teachers that foster a constructivist-based classroom, which invites active student engagement on multiple levels, must be prepared to manage what might, in more traditional perspectives, be considered classroom “chaos”. Constructivist classrooms encourage students to have direct experiences with the subject and teachers must be adequately prepared to facilitate this inquiry-based process.
The 3Hs use a “whole-child” perspective to engage students’ cognitive, social, communicative, physical...
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...y stations and multiple ways of engaging with science in the classroom, they must also continue to scaffold children’s learning. By providing multiple activities and multiple ways for students to engage with science, students can choose which method of learning works best for them. Using the 3Hs engages all students and their different ways of learning.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Integrating hands-on, heads-on, hearts-on learning (the 3Hs) into early science education is a possible and an effective way to teach early science education. By giving students the agency to choose from a variety of activity stations, they guide their own learning and develop a deeper and intrinsically motivated understanding of science. Teachers, in order to integrate the 3Hs, must continue to provide guided scaffolding and serve as facilitators of scientific knowledge, inquiry, and appreciation.
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