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April 18, 2024

Blog: Five Top Tips for Science Teachers

Teaching science is…an art. Experts from the Academy of the Holy Angels know how to get young women interested in the sciences, and keep them engaged once they have moved beyond the basics. Here are some top tips from our savvy educators.


Tip #1  Linda Payonzeck, who teaches science at AHA Middle School, shows her students a short video, such as the animated clips available through BrainPop, to reinforce scientific concepts in a breezy, energetic way. Music is also a factor in Payonzeck’s classroom.


AHA Upper School students mentor AHA Middle School Angels in the Women in Science and Engineering program.

“The middle school students will be singing ‘The Periodic Table Song’ to help them learn the elements!” she explained.


Tip #2  “When chemistry students are losing focus, we break out the molecular model kits and build some of the compounds we are learning about,” AHA Science Department Chair Sharon Jureller shared. “A switch from listening and taking notes to doing something constructive sparks interest and gets students back on track.”


Tip #3  Patricia Prucnel, who teaches environmental science and anatomy, relates the science topic at hand to a current event in the real world.


“For example, when we have bad weather here, I show the students places around the world that are also combatting weather-related events,” Prucnel explained.


She also prompts students in her anatomy class to research issues that relate to specific body systems.


“When they were studying human bones, the Angels had to figure out what foods are enriched with calcium, and which of those food could be included in their diet,” she added.


Tip #4  When her students raise questions, Nadine Behrens encourages them to use physics as a pathway to discovery.


“We observe the world around us and think about what is happening,” Behrens said, adding that students wonder why certain phenomena occur, and are able to find answers through experiments and mathematical work.


Tip #5  Biology teacher Christine Paladino knows that a teacher’s personal enthusiasm sparks interest in the classroom.


“Welcome the students into the room and ask how they are doing. Be as excited as possible about the topic you are going to present. TALK to your students and ACT out as much as you can in scenarios they may laugh about to engage them in learning.”


Paladino keeps her classes lively by speaking for 15 minutes, showing a five-minute video to reinforce her comments, and then asking students to color and label newly learned concepts on a worksheet. She follows up with a “Jeopardy” style exercise where students jump up and share their responses.