So all of us had completed our presentation on a scientific demonstration. As a Physics teacher, I naturally picked a Physics-based one and it focused on the Law of Reflection in Light. However, this blog post is not just about a science concept.
Although we were given ample time to think about what demonstration to perform and to refine and perfect it, having a full time job as a teacher at a new school had prevented me from devoting much time or thought on it. I made sure I read through the rubrics on which we would be assessed and tailored my demonstration accordingly. I chose a simple one which made use of everyday items as suggested by our lecturer, read the article about how to make the best of a demonstration, applied some strategies and created a powerpoint. I felt I had prepared myself as best as I could.
On hindsight, my takeaway after the two rounds of presentations was quite unexpected. The QnA session after each individual demonstration turned out to be more of a critique session which I had personally found to be very very beneficial. Other than our lecturer giving his feedback and recommendations, many of the fellow students provided some really insightful comments and useful suggestions.
“Perhaps you could have use an actual laser pointer instead of showing an image of it?”
“Involve the audience more by getting them to reflect the beam in this format.”
“I would have started my presentation by asking the audience if they had seen their own reflection..”
“I think the use of the spoons confused more than clarified.”
“It felt more like a lecture than a demonstration.”
And it was not just for my own presentation. The discussion that came about after each presentation was always rich and fruitful as all of us were actively engaged. There were times when the teachers become learners, and learners sometimes teach. As we are from different backgrounds (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, non-teachers), we get to hear responses stemming from a novel perspective as everyone draws upon his or her past experience and knowledge.
At the end of the day, I realised this really is collaborative learning at its best. What I had thought to be sufficient could have been so much better because alone one can only do so much. Many of the suggestions may be very intuitive but would never had crossed my mind had my peers not pointed them out. I am pretty certain my fellow coursemates had benefitted similarly.
This entire process made me consider how the “best” science is more often than not a collaborative effort. I quote the only man to ever win the Nobel Prize for Physics twice:
‘Nuff said. =P
I had received so many good suggestions on how I could further improve my demonstration. Moreover, I did another round of research into demonstrations related to my topic of choice and found more ideas to incorporate. So much more confident and so very excited for our upcoming Science Symposium on 23 April! Do come and support us!