4 Summary

Ideally, learning science should be based on evidence. Demonstration helps students learn through observation and is suitable when a school cannot afford either the resources or the time that might be required if all students were to carry out an investigation. It can provide more opportunities to engage students than teacher or textbook explanations alone.

Planning for demonstration is as important as for any other teaching strategy. It is also helpful to rehearse the demonstration before carrying it out in the classroom. While carrying out a demonstration, if tests are involved that require you to use chemicals and apparatus that need to be handled with care, you need to alert your students about the precautions to be taken.

When a teacher arrives in the classroom with the materials for demonstration, students become much more interested and look forward to the lesson. Sustaining their interest is important and requires you to ask questions and adopt other strategies to keep them focused. Managing the classroom during demonstration is also important to ensure that no student, including those sitting at the back, is excluded from the learning process.

Demonstrations can make a substantial difference to students’ learning. It is clearly very worthwhile incorporating them into your teaching repertoire.

3 Managing demonstrations