TI-AIE: Pair work: atoms and molecules, and chemical reactions

What this unit is about

This unit is about a simple teaching technique for encouraging students to talk about science. You can use it with Class IX or Class X students. The technique is pair work and is illustrated in the context of atoms and molecules, and chemical reactions.

Research shows (Mercer and Littleton, 2007) – and you probably know from your own experience – that talking about a problem or a new idea can be very helpful. Talking can help you to understand. Talk is an instrument for developing higher order cognitive activity, and it is the same for your students. But when students move from Class VIII to Class IX, they are usually expected to work silently on their own. The work they are expected to do is also considerably more demanding. However, as you know, students learn at different rates, and many find science in Class IX and Class X to be hard and unrewarding. Working and talking with a partner in structured activities will help to engage your students in science learning and support the co-construction of knowledge.

In this unit you will learn about some simple strategies for encouraging your students to talk about science problems and review their work with another student in the class. Talking about science and reviewing each other’s work will help your students to understand difficult ideas. If they understand the work, they are more likely to apply the ideas in novel situations and will do better in the examination at the end of the year.

The teaching approaches in this unit involve students working in pairs, and apply to many topics in Classes IX and X. Resource 1 explores pair work in detail.

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What you can learn in this unit