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Benefits of Teaching Science With Manipulative Models

Hands-on learning has become a common practice in classrooms across Canada, and around the world. But just what is hands-on learning, and how can science teachers benefit from this interactive form of teaching? It’s simple really, hands-on learning is about learning by doing, and with VIRTmac’s Magnetic Classroom there’s no limit to what you can create!

Manipulative models – what they are and why they’re beneficial

Manipulative models are physical objects that are used as teaching tools in order to engage students and introduce, practice, or remediate a variety of scientific concepts. Manipulatives can be as simple as a grain of rice, or as sophisticated as the contents of a VIRTmac kit. Teachers who embrace hands-on learning and incorporate manipulatives into their everyday lesson plans introduce their students to an intuitive way of learning, and empower them to succeed.

Biology teachers that have used a hands-on approach to teaching have experienced the following benefits:

  • Students are able to remember material better, and feel a much greater sense of accomplishment when the task is completed. This is because students have a better chance of understanding and retaining concepts that are taught using manipulative models.
  • Students who have difficulty learning due to language barriers, auditory deficiencies, or behavioural issues have a much easier time stay engaged and on task when manipulative models are introduced.
  • Most importantly, students enjoy learning about science when manipulative models are used. Karina LeBlanc, VP, Autism Pro. remarks that, when using VIRTmac manipulative models, “the students are excited about science, eager to get to class, attentive, [and] taking initiative.” Students have a much easier time learning and process information when they’re having fun and genuinely interested in the project at hand.

Supplement traditional teach strategies with hands-on learning techniques

Textbooks and manipulative learning tools can, and should, be used together to provide students with a well-rounded learning experience. This multifaceted approach to teaching helps to reinforce important concepts and tackle tough problems. Not sure how to incorporate hands-on teaching techniques into your next biology unit? Here are just a few suggestions:

  1. Introduce the topic with readings from the textbook, followed by a hands-on activity demonstrating the lesson’s key points. Interactive learning activities can be used to build upon what your students have read in the text, and what they have discussed during class.
  2. Foster curiosity and creativity by introducing a new unit using manipulative models and hands-on activities. This will help ensure your students grasp important information right off the top.
  3. Plan a hands-on review activity prior to a unit test. These review tasks will help students establish the relationship between concepts and solidify their knowledge.

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that states:

“I hear and I forget

I see and I remember

I do and I understand.”

Manipulative model kits help students develop critical thinking skills and learn complex scientific concepts. Don’t just teach your students to remember information – help them understand the different facets of science with manipulative model educational kits.

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