We all know that children follow each other like sheep. They want to hang around with the cool kids; they want to be seen to like the same things others do for acceptance. Being cool usually means that you’re doing something different to the majority; something that stands out. Research has shown that when students see that their classmates are very interested in a subject at school, they are more likely to develop an interest in the subject themselves. One class where you, as a teacher, can encourage this is the science classroom. Some of the experiments I’ve conducted with students, in my science classes in a small rural school of only 50 students, were so beyond the norm of the kind of lessons that have traditionally been taught at the school that news of the fun we had in the classes spread like a meme to students in other schools within the district. The aim of my lessons is always to make them exciting and engaging not just to hold their attention through the lesson because I know that I can do that, but so that students will remember those lessons forever and, who knows, maybe have an impact and influence on the career decisions they choose.
Science is contagious. It’s one place we can push a few boundaries and give students a WOW factor with not too much effort if you think it will push you out of your comfort zone a little bit. Here’s a link to an article and a research paper that shows just how contagious science can be.