KSA #03 Program of Studies · KSA #04 Subject Knowledge · KSA #05 Differentiation · KSA #06 Planning · KSA #07 Student Needs · KSA #09 Instructional Strategies · KSA #15 Professional Learning · KSA #16 Vision of Teaching

Using Kinesthetics to Reach Students and Improve their Learning

I have always known that kinesthetic activities was crucial to student learning, it was evident way back when I was a student in grade school (and even still today as a university student). Throughout my university courses the theory was discussed at length, it’s application was seen often in my Grade 3 placement for PSI and now in CHEM 20 I’ve seen it’s huge benefits to student learning.

Many would ask, even I at one point, (1) How does one make the material in CHEM 20 kinesthetic? (2) Do high school kids even care, wouldn’t they just rather you give them the material so they can learn it? (3) Is it realistic to engage teenage students in this way? (4) Shouldn’t we be preparing them for university, which unfortunately is based on the premise of long dry lectures?

It has been a great learning adventure in CHEM 20 seeing not only how it IS possible to bring this material to life for the students to engage them in their learning, but I would argue it is fundamental to student learning. As always, I have a diverse mix of learning styles and multiple intelligences in my classroom. Why such a push for kinesthetic learning? What about all of the others? Kinesthetic activities appeal to visual and auditory learners as well. I’ve found these activities are most beneficial, to all students regardless of learning style, if afterwards I tie the activity back into something more concrete for the students (which then brings the tactile learners into). There are those who are able to take the activity and grasp the concept in a way that they can now explain it on paper, or through discussion, but there are many that need that extra step of instruction. Once I bring the material back together on the board and show them in a logical fashion how this activity applies to the questions they will be asked the room is filled with “ah-ha” moments! These moments were one of my favourites as a student, so naturally I love seeing my students reach this level of understanding!

The point

I was able to integrate kinesthetic activities in Chemical Bonding with:

  1. Tug of War (demonstrates the differences between ionic, polar and non-polar covalent bonds)
  2. VSEPR Yoga (although this year I didn’t do this, I definitely will in future!)
  3. Intermolecular Forces Dance

And in Solutions Chemistry:

  1. Major Species in Solution
  2. Types of Equations (Non-ionic or Molecular, Total Ionic and Net Ionic)

When I prepare kinesthetic activities, I need to focus on the logistics and how this will correlate to the chemistry that I am trying to teach. This challenges me to ensure that the activity will work and accomplish the goals, or learning outcomes, I have set out in my lesson.

Until next time,
Mr. B

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