Instructional Methods for Teaching Science


The goal of education, as expressed by many scholars, is principally learning. It has been proved that education is most effective when the teacher and learner are clear about the learning objectives and expected outcomes. This explains why it is important to incorporate performance and behavioral objectives into teaching plans, especially in science lessons. This paper discusses the importance of performance and behavioral objectives in teaching and planning for the science subject.

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The Complexity of Teaching Science

Science is regarded by many educators as a complex subject to teach, as it requires lengthy preparation and planning. Firstly, teachers need to know the abilities of their students before drawing lesson plans for science subjects. Some of the main aspects that teachers need to find out include the students’ varying attention spans; their interests, intellectual levels, and abilities; their prior learning knowledge and experiences; and their special needs. Such information enables tutors to identify the most suitable learning materials and content to include in their lesson plans (Hassard & Dias, 2013).

Secondly, teachers have to identify the goals and objectives that suit their students and the expected outcomes of the science lessons. The goals set when preparing teaching plans for the subject can be broad in nature, but should at least be directly related to the skills and knowledge instructors intend to instill in the students. Learning objectives need to be specific and should reflect what the teachers want their students to achieve through the tasks assigned to them throughout the learning process. The objectives set for science lessons are usually specified in terms of performance and behavior in nature (Martin, Sexton, & Franklin, 2009).

Importance of Planning for Science Lessons

Planning is an essential element in teaching science as much as it is in other spheres of life. A lesson plan is an important tool that tutors rely on while teaching science to prepare their students well to enable them to achieve their educational goals. A science lesson plan is never specific; it is made to suit a specific group of students. The plan is made after a proper evaluation of the abilities of each student and the expected goals and objectives (Hassard & Dias, 2013).

Effective teaching plans for science lessons should contain well-designed units. A unit refers to the way learning materials are arranged for the purpose of issuing instructions to students. A unit contains and utilizes important subject-matter content with the goals and objectives set to be achieved at the end of the learning process (Curtis, 2013). A unit also promotes active participation and involvement of students in classwork throughout the lesson; it helps teachers understand their learners well, including their interests, strengths, and weaknesses (Martin, Sexton, & Franklin, 2009).

Lastly, planning for science lessons helps teachers create a learning environment where students are not only given instructions, but also assisted to learn, think, understand, and judge the content they study. For that reason, the formulation and use of lesson plans for science subjects promote quality teaching, besides improving the tutor’s confidence. Teachers who take their time to prepare lesson plans for the subjects they teach are more confident and restrained during class sessions (Curtis, 2013).

Instructional Methods that Support Group Learning

There are a number of instructional strategies that a teacher can use to promote quality learning, especially among students working in groups. The first method, inquiry-based learning, can be used to teach all science subjects, as it enables students to practice critical thinking and problem-solving skills in their groups by looking for solutions to the problems they are given to work out. This method is totally student-centered and only requires the teacher’s presence at the beginning of the learning process (Hassard & Dias, 2013).

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Direct instruction is another instructional method commonly used by teachers to facilitate learning in group settings. The method involves lecturing and is considered one of the simplest instruction strategies. In the method, the teacher can cover more content within a very short time. Unlike inquiry-based learning, the direct instruction method does not take into account the unique needs of all the students (Martin, Sexton, & Franklin, 2009).

Teachers can also apply the cooperative learning method to facilitate how their students study in teams. The method encourages grouping and organizing facts to facilitate a better and quicker understanding among learners. Using the method, teachers can effectively apply graphic organizers, story webs, mind maps, and other means of visualizing information to help students memorize scientific facts and other relevant content (Hassard & Dias, 2013).


The best instructional methods for teaching science should take into account the objectives and goals students are expected to achieve. Since learning objectives must be considered when preparing for classes, a lesson plan is an important aspect that teachers should not ignore. The most suitable instructional methods that teachers can apply to teach science include cooperative learning, direct instruction, and inquiry-based tutoring.


Curtis, D. (2013). Brain-based research prompts innovative teaching techniques in the classroom. Web.

Hassard, J., & Dias, M. (2013). The art of teaching science: Inquiry and innovation in middle school and high school. New York, NY: Routledge.

Martin, R., Sexton, C., & Franklin, T. (2009). Teaching science for all children: An inquiry approach (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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