Activities Integrating Math & Science (AIMS) and Great Explorations in Math & Science (GEMS) are both activity based teaching methods. In most instances, the two approaches use stories, pictures and fun to do activities to draw the attention of the student. The justification of integrating different subjects is that they are all inter-linked and should be treated equally in the classroom.
Oobleck (Goo-Yuk) and Liquid Explorations are two GEMS materials that can be effective for use in a classroom setting. The Oobleck teacher’s guide has an activity on making oobleck, which applies most of the mathematical measurements, of both quantities and time. On the other hand, the liquid Exploration Guide involves classifying liquids by their characteristics. This develops the concepts of observation, analyzing and recording. AIMS teacher guides include; Critters-mealworm moments and Sensational Spring-Recycle Relay. The ‘critter’ teaching guide involves observation of animal behaviors. The application of this activity based guide will aid the learner get an understanding of the fundamental characteristics of living things. On the other hand, sensational spring is a guide that creates environmental awareness in the young ones. The guide contains a practical activity of collecting plastic containers and momentous questions which, if answered help the learner comprehend the importance of recycling to the environment. Other good teaching ideas include; the use of related real life examples, creating experiment templates and investigation prompts.
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The AIMS and GEMS materials are good for use in a classroom setting. They all contain pertinent scientific and mathematical concepts, which are crucial to the students’ learning. Using these materials will create a friendly classroom environment in which the learner will absorb most of the concepts in the materials. I would use the materials in classroom settings for the reasons given earlier. In the past, I have seen similar materials in use as teaching materials. One example is the use of T-shirt and Letter buttons, which is effective in teaching children to spell names and words.
In conclusion, activity based teaching techniques yield positive results whenever applied. This is because they get rid of the monotony that is likely to occur if all learning is formal. This creates a favorable learning atmosphere for the students. The use of activity based materials helps to improve the students’ ability to grasp concepts taught in class.
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