In January 2012, we attended an interesting Teacher Professional Development workshop dealing with Experiential Learning Cycle that was presented by Mr. M. Louznadji, Inspector of National Education-Oran.
Our trainer aimed at introducing us to David Kolb's learning model to apply its concepts to existing workshop activities so that we leave the course with future plans in our everyday classes. During the workshop, we went through the four phases of the Experiential Learning Cycle.
It was so constructive and inspiring that I started to plan for a future project work with my students, and I decided to organize the Science Fair Project for April 16th.
Indeed, I realized the Science Fair Project twice before, but this year it was more interesting. As we teach the unit about ‘Innovation and Technology’ both in SE1 "Eureka" and SE2 "Budding Scientists", I decided to engage my 4 scientific classes (SE1+SE2 S+ SE2 TM).
The project started on March 11th, 2012 i.e. a week before spring holidays, and it was planned to be presented on April 16th. To realize the project we went through 3 phases:
The Preparation Phase:
Right from the beginning, students were aware that such a project is individual except for those who negotiated to work in pairs.
I printed a copy of the science fair poster layout for each student, and explained the required dimensions as well as the organization of ideas on the poster.
Then I reviewed the steps of the scientific experiment that we had seen all along the teaching unit.
To wet my students appetite and increase their motivation I used the overhead projector to view videos of the past science fairs that I realized in other schools. Eg. Meftahi School Science Fair.
The Realization Phase:
While preparing their projects individually or in pairs, students
- decided about a scientific experiment as a project theme.
- made research on the net and in the school library.
- made great use of the bilingual and monolingual dictionaries to use the appropriate vocabulary.
- borrowed material from the physics and science laboratories or from their kitchens!
- designed their final posters.
N.B. A student went to the University of USTO to talk to geneticians because she had decided to make an experiment on Genetic Factors.
The Presentation Phase:
- All posters with the related materials were gathered and exhibited both in the library and the school hall.
- The more participants there are, the more posters are available, the larger the exhibition is and the more successful the science fair is.
- Students from other classes or even other schools could be engaged.
From individual or pair project to school community project:
Though celebrating April 16th with a science fair project has become my classroom tradition, the results always went beyond my students’ expectations.
As each student creatively and scientifically worked on his / her project, it was expected to have either the best or the worst product, but once all the posters were displayed, students forgot about comparison and competition.
Students were surprised by the exhibition that was totally different from the daily learning environment. They felt overwhelmed and enjoyed sharing their creative posters and discoveries of the subject they had chosen. As they moved along and around the exhibited posters, they were attracted by many scientific experiments and became more motivated to acquire knowledge from their class and school mates. Likewise, students felt proud to explain to the others what they had learned from their own research.
The project consequences went much more beyond my students' expectations: the science fair exhibition was opened to a larger audience, the whole school community visited the library, then students and their teachers from some other schools as well as the local authorities including the Department of Education, cultural and Health associations and the Inspector of National Education of English.
Though it was the first time, my students were so happy and proud of their work that they didn't hesitate to explain their projects to the audience using English, French and Arabic depending on the job of the visitor and the language he/she could understand.
This has been my experience with almost a hundred of students, as I remember every second I spent with them from the beginning to the end of the project. I would like to express my pride and gratitude to every student from 1 AS 2&4+ 2AS NS 2 + 2AS TM, for their commitment and cooperation as well as partnership to demonstrate love for knowledge and education.
I really congratulate them on the great task they seriously and successfully performed.
To read more about my students' attitudes, visit the photo gallery here.......
Miss.Kheira Nadia Mezough
Hammou Boutlelis High School
Oran, April 2012
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Thank you very much for the interesting things you send. I was really
in need for such important information since I am a novice teacher.
Thanks a lot.
Assalamo alykoum dear brothers and sisters,
It is really great what you publish in your website and all the e-mails
thanks a lot, may Allah reward you for the greatest merit. To carry out this heavy burden is not an easy task, thus we need the colaboration of all the staff of teachers everywhere.