As a teacher, you had to do a year or so of hands-on training in the classroom before you were able to apply for your first teaching job completely on your own. Especially for certain situations, hands-on learning or learning through role play can increase the retention of information you are trying to get across to your students.
When using a role playing scenario, you can approach creating the scenarios or scientific situations in a number of different ways. Your role as the teacher, however, requires you to set the stage for the students. If you are teaching them about the different roles in an ecosystem, then setting the stage may entail assigning a role to each student in the class—a group of students are the trees, a group are the water and a group are the animals for example.
To get the students started in their role play, you should show them how to work through the scenario. While you may not walk them through the entire process, you may need to be the spark that jumpstarts their understanding of how to role play and how to learn from the role playing in the process.
Let Them Run with It
Once you set the scene and show them how to role play, sit back and watch as an observer. Let the students fulfill their roles. You should intervene and adjust as necessary. You can also sit back and watch as understanding washes over the students faces. Just as it is easier for you to learn how to play tennis or complete a form by doing it and practicing, the same holds true for learning various concepts in science.
Hands-on learning and role pay can increase a student’s understanding. Rather than reading the information in a textbook, role play brings realization that a science textbook may never be able to accomplish.