Some students learn best when they are actively engaged with the concept about which they are learning. While some learn easily by listening to a lecture or by reading from a textbook, tactile learners pick up new concepts when their hands are involved in the learning process. Many students' learning styles are a blend of these styles; however, if a learner's style is predominately kinesthetic, then he or she requires physical learning activities to meet a lesson plan's learning objective. For a teacher to maximize the potential for all students to demonstrate mastery of a learning objective, hands-on activities must be included within the lesson plan. Try using experiments, manipulatives, models, and role-playing in your next lessons to help all students be successful. Continue reading to see how hands-on learning activities can be used in the classroom.
Hands-On Activities in the School Store
Lessons that provide opportunities for students to be moving around and physically participating in the learning activity are the kind of lessons that meet the needs of tactile learners. Role-playing is one method often used to make learning accessible to those who best learn kinesthetically. The role of shopkeeper or customer can be used to teach life skills such as cooperation, patience, and friendliness; furthermore, role-playing at the school store can teach academic skills related to business and mathematics.
Teachers can lecture about supply and demand or students can read about how to manage an inventory, but to many learners, none of this will make much sense until it is put into practice. When a tactile learner can use his or her hands to manipulate the items at the school store, the concepts they have heard about or read about become easier to understand. The school store's goods are tangible teaching tools, items that can be tracked and valued. Students playing the role of shopkeeper will learn first-hand about how an item can be expensive, especially if customers have no need for it. Using real money or classroom tokens at the school store is a great way to teach tactile learners lessons in mathematics, currency, and economics.
Go Green with Gardening
Growing a plant from a seed is a classic part of elementary science lessons because it is a learning activity that works. A student could spend a few minutes reading about the life cycle of a plant and studying illustrated diagrams of its parts. That is all some kids have to do to comprehend and retain the steps of the plant's lifecycle. These students, however, may still benefit from a kinesthetic approach.
No book or lecture can adequately explain the time and care required for growing a plant. Students can learn to appreciate plant life when they are the ones tending the plant. Plus, they may see that variances exist among students' plants. If the roots are visible, students may see that some grow longer than others. Some seeds may sprout quickly while others may not sprout at all. These discrepancies are what make kids curious. Students will want to learn more about why their seed reacts in the way that it does. First-hand experiences can really hit home a concept with tactile learners.
Models for a Hands-On Learning Style
Models are often recommended for students who are hands-on learners. Kids can use them to see how the parts relate to the whole. Use models to demonstrate a new concept, or have students build their own to deepen their understanding of new material.
Some school rooms are modeled after a house or room in a home. When students are at home, they can easily transfer the skills they learned at the school's model to the very own rooms in their homes. For example, food science and home economics courses are often held in special classrooms modeled after the layout of our home kitchens. The cabinets and drawers contain all the supplies needed for food preparation. The refrigerator and pantry are there too, but they are stocked with only essential ingredients needed for the class's lesson. Students learn to prepare food and use appliances in these types of classrooms. Depending on their age and skill level, students may use an oven or stove. They may clean up in the sink or fill a dishwasher to do the dirty work for them. No matter what, students are learning with their bodies. They are actively engaged in the activities occurring within this special setting.
Hands-on learning isn't meant to completely replace auditory and visual teaching techniques. In fact, most hands-on activities have visual and auditory components, too. Whatever your lesson may be, include hands-on activities so that you can target a variety of learning styles.