For most primary school children, they would have ended their Science examinations and be awaiting their results. Upon getting the paper, parents would realise that their children may not have done as well as they ought to, or may have lost marks where they shouldn’t have. Here are a couple of tips to help your children better their Science results.
Tip: Eliminate the distractors
MCQ options that are not the correct answers are also known as distractors, for a good reason. A good MCQ question should test your children’s knowledge and distractors serve to ‘distract’ your child from the correct answer. Remind your children to cross out or eliminate the incorrect options as they answer their MCQ questions.
Strategy: Analyse their incorrect options
To help you understand where your children has any misconceptions or incomplete understandings, it is useful to analyse their wrong options. Ask your children to explain why certain options or distractors are the incorrect answers to you. Analysing your children’s wrong options for a few questions is more beneficial than providing answers to them all the time.
Tip: Identify the key ideas & words
It is essential to understand the key idea which a question is asking for and provide the suitable key words to answer the question. Very often, children answer using ‘lay’ or naive language. To answer their open-ended questions better, your children have to learn how to use the ‘scientific’ terms that they have taught in their open-ended answers.
E.g. Why can’t you see an object in a dark room.
Common Answer: There is no light in the room.- Not good enough
Suggested Answer: There is no light source (keyword) in the room therefore there is no light reflecting off the object into your eyes. (key idea)
Strategy: Use ‘scientific language’ often
When teaching your children, ask them to highlight or underline the key words in their answers. If they have no key words or ideas to underline, their answers are probably not good enough!
You may also guide them by asking them to rephrase the question into a sentence starter or ask them to answer the question verbally first.
E.g. Why can’t you see an object in a dark room?can be rephased as An object in a dark room cannot be seen as … … … …During the course of answering or rephrasing the question, if your child is unable to identify or understand the key ideas and words in the question, he or she probably did not understand the question in the first place.
Try to should use ‘scientific’ language in your everyday talk to your children to get them into the habit of using these terms and phrases. E.g. Water from the orange juice has evaporated as compared to the orange juice evaporated (which is conceptually wrong)