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Sharing of Teaching Resources: Nurturing Students' Scientific Literacy

 
Teachers' Information
  • Dr SUEN Ka-chun, Ms LIN Mei-yu, Jennifer, Mr LI Man-ho
  • Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College
  • Teachers presented with the Award of Chief Executive’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2016/2017)
  • Subjects Taught: Science and Biology
 
Teaching Philosophy
We adopt the Predict-Observe-Explain (POE) approach in teaching Science. To broaden students’ horizons, we have been enhancing our school-based Science curriculum by adding Biotechnological topics to the junior Science curriculum. We believe that scientific literacy is properly cultivated through the provision of authentic learning experience.
 
Teachers' Sharing
Nurturing students’ scientific literacy has long been one of the objectives in Science Education. Our belief is that Science Education in primary and secondary schools plays a significant role in nurturing students to be informed citizens and breeding some of them to be future scientists. Science lessons can be regarded as various opportunities for students to experience being scientists and use scientific methods to learn more about the natural world. Therefore, it is important for a science teacher to design learning activities for students to be engaged in learning science. In our science lessons, we adopt the Predict-Observe-Explain (POE) strategy to foster student inquiry. In our Science curriculum, we establish school-based Biotechnology and Neuroscience curricula for students to develop their interest in science.
 
The POE strategy
To facilitate learning, it is important for teachers to understand students’ prior knowledge and underlying misconceptions that they might have. Adopting the POE strategy, a teacher can get an accurate grasp of students’ understanding of a scientific concept when students make predictions before conducting an experiment. During the process of prediction, students develop curiosity through inquiry and they are encouraged to apply their existing knowledge creatively to solve the problems raised. Our experience in using POE tells us that learners’ interest and curiosity in science can be greatly enhanced when they are making different predictions like what scientists do before conducting an experiment. With a hypothesis in the prediction stage, students are ready to move onto the next step – observation. This is a very important process in the POE strategy as learners’ existing knowledge is being challenged when their observation is different from their prediction. This motivates them to probe deeper in the matter in an attempt to come up with an explanation, which is the last but most difficult step in the POE strategy. In the process of searching for a justified explanation using relevant scientific concepts, students rectify their misunderstanding and consolidate new concepts acquired. Our experience indicates that teachers’ regular co-planning in professional development periods can help develop effective strategies in catering for learner diversity when developing a new scientific concept. As the POE strategy is a well-structured procedure, it is easier for both students and teachers to acquire understanding and identify misunderstanding in a lesson. With repeated practices of inquiry-learning, using POE strategies, students’ scientific literacy can be progressively built up.
 
Curriculum Development
We believe that students have different strengths and interests. In our school-based Science curriculum, we try to create diverse learning opportunities for students to develop their potential in science. For example, we have set up S.1-S.3 Biotechnology curriculum in which students can have another platform to experience being biologists. Scientifically gifted students can join various science clubs such as Neuroscience Club. In Neuroscience Club, students are engaged in doing research projects related to brain science. In addition to creating more learning topics available for students to develop interest in science, we encourage students to join different scientific conferences including international conferences and our school-based Joint-School Young Scientists Conference. When students are presenting their findings and interacting with other scientists in the conference, they again act like scientists and acquire deeper understanding of what science is and what scientists do. We believe that this kind of experience can further promote students’ interest in learning science as well as help them acquire scientific literacy.
We believe science is for all, but we also understand that not every student will become a scientist. Therefore, our mission in Science Education is to nurture all students to be informed citizens as well as nurture some of them to become future scientists. We keep on developing our school-based Science curriculum so that learner diversity in various scientific topics can be catered for. In the coming future, we plan to arouse students’ interest in examining topics such as insects, stem cells, and space science. It is our mission to create room for students of different interests to develop their potential in science.
 
Sharing of Resources
Teaching Practices
 
POE Learning and Teaching Materials
 
 
     
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