Michigan Reach Out!
Hands-On Science Tips

These tips were written for our science club volunteers, but they are appropriate for anyone working with children.

Show enthusiasm! Enthusiasm about science is catching. Let students see your excitement about their projects, experiments, and discoveries. John and kids
Treat children with respect and listen to what they say. Talk eye to eye.
Use terminology appropriate for their age level.
Assist children without taking control (i.e., don’t do the science experiment for them).
You’re teaching a process, not facts. Give students time to explore, observe, handle materials, test ideas, and talk about what they are exploring and learning. Don’t worry about the results so much.
Ask questions that encourage children to think for themselves, such as, “Why do you think this liquid is bubbling?” Avoid probing for the “right answer.”
Science is about asking questions and searching for answers. Model that it is okay, in fact necessary, to not have all the answers.
Recognize the range of children’s abilities: some work more slowly than others.
When you praise a child, you must believe what you are saying and it must be based on something very specific that you share with him or her. For example, you see Anne helping Chris with the experiment. You say, “Thanks, Anne. You are being very helpful.”
Children notice everything you do and imitate it. Please be careful of what you say and the language you use—even when you think they are not listening!
If a child is not cooperating, or shares personal matters of a serious nature with you, please notify the club coordinator.

Children need people more than they need science.

What is important is that they know you care about them.

Back to Reach Out! Home Page