It seems that lately every advertising we see is not selling a product but a feeling. From soda ads to video games to toys, ads are not about the product, they are about some sort of experience that they promise to make you live. That is storytelling. The art of storytelling is one of the oldest forms of art.
When we think of storytelling, we often think of language arts or history. It makes sense to use this strategy in these areas because after all these subjects relay a lot in the use of language. We rarely ever think of storytelling as something that could be used in the setting of more “hard” science. Hard sciences, such as physics, depend on facts and formulas and solving exercises and all the “hard” stuff.
For many, all that is very hard.
Many students are not used to present their knowledge in a “factual” way. Those students that are so good with the language, sometimes struggle with the formulas and the facts. So I decided to try and incorporate some of the language teaching strategies into my science teaching. I have been an ESL teacher for some time now and it only seem right to put that experience, in language teaching, to use in my science teaching.
When we gave students the assignment of coming up with a creative way to demonstrate their understanding of some of the concepts that we had learned over this semester, I was not ready to see what they had in store. Poems, songs and even dances were developed by the different groups to show complex concepts such as wave-particle theory, electromagnetic waves, color and light.
What´s more interesting is that through these art forms, students tried to tell a story. Concepts were connected through a sort of tale. Imagine being able to talk about waves without words, showing the relation between energy and wave frequency with dance moves, creating a poem that tells the story of light and its characteristics. Many students that had struggled with demonstrating conceptual understanding, did an awesome job for this assignment.
Giving students the opportunity of using their talents to show understanding really paid off this semester. Many of them showed a renovated interest in science when it was presented in a more story like fashion. Many more, were able to show how well they had understood concepts when given the chance of showing this knowledge via, what until that moment was an unconventional way.