SIDNEY – For the second consecutive year, Sidney Middle School teacher Leslie Phlipot presented her educational theories on game based instruction during the National Science Teachers Association’s annual conference held in Nashville, Tennessee. from March 31 to April 3.
Phlipot, who has been teaching science to sixth-grade students at SMS for the last five years, is a firm believer in the philosophy that students learn best when they are enjoying themselves. This belief led her to developing a series of games and competitions in which students can participate that revolve around the Science Content Standards.
While at the conference, Phlipot presented her strategies to more than 100 other educators who also received a packet containing game samples. Team relays, memory match, diagram labeling and order and sequencing are just some of the activities included in the packet.
A member of the National Middle School Science Association contacted Phlipot in December 2015 and requested that she submit a proposal to participate in their Share-a-thon based on her presentation from the previous year’s conference held in Chicago, Ill.
“I was surprised to receive the e-mail asking me to submit the proposal,” recalled Phlipot,” and humbled when it was approved.”
“The idea of going to this conference and sharing ideas is to help other educators with new strategies without forcing them to reinvent the wheel,” Phlipot explained. “The response I received was greatly appreciated. Other teachers shared with me ideas they already had and how they could implement my ideas in their classrooms that following Monday.”
The strategy for using games in order to learn came from a need to get all learners to not only learn basic information but also apply that knowledge. Based on observations in the classroom, Phlipot noticed that students of all levels are learning and pushing themselves to study and willingly learn the content which is something they did not do when just directed to memorize the information. Adding the element of competition and presenting it as a means to win a game helps to motivate the students.
Landon Davis, a student in Phlipot’s class explained, “It’s an easy way to learn, actually.” While Davis couldn’t pin point one favorite game, he did remark about how the visual cues in the games make them easy to play and the information easy to learn.
Grant Hoying, another student, said,” I like how you can work in a team. They (the games) are fast paced.” Hoying added that a reward to the winning team is a nice touch. Hoying said he thinks the repetition and read aloud cues help students to learn the information more quickly.
In addition to the NSTA conference, Phlipot presented at the Science Educators Council of Ohio Conference in 2014, National Social Studies Conference in 2010 and the Ohio Social Studies Council in 2010. Phlipot also teaches a class for The Ohio State University centered on educators implementing inquiry based learning in the classroom.
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