Middle schoolers are at an interesting age. They aren’t high schoolers yet, and they’re no longer babies. They’re close to being teenagers, and they speak a whole different language than they used to—especially when it comes to academics. But this doesn’t mean you can’t relate to them. We can tell you the best ways to engage middle schoolers.
Relate to Them
Have you ever heard a student say, “When am I ever going to use this?” If you have, that’s the exact moment you need to slow things down and approach the subject from a different angle. Students need to see the correlation between the lesson and their lives.
With every lesson or subject you teach, show them how you can relate it to their current or future lives. For example, maybe you can connect the subject matter to a new app your students love. Start speaking their language, and they’ll promptly respond.
Break Things Down
Don’t throw lessons at them in bulk. You need to break down your lesson plan into chunks. It’s easier for students to digest one lesson at a time, and it’s a lot more entertaining and interesting when it all comes together. They’ll be able to see how one section relates to another.
Creativity is the best way to engage with middle schoolers. They have a lot of energy. As we said before, they are in that middle age between children and teenagers. You need to do activities that will blow their minds.
Don’t be afraid to incorporate a few science experiments into the curriculum. There are so many to choose from. Model bridge science experiments teach students about science and life. Plus, they’re a perfect blend between science and social studies.
All children are curious, even teenagers. They want to know how something works or why it works the way it does. Never discourage that curiosity because that tells students their thoughts and opinions don’t matter.
Consider approaching some of your lessons with an open group discussion first. Ask students why they think this particular curriculum is important and what they think they’ll gain from it. Healthy group discussions will keep them engaged throughout the lesson.
Try Being Non-traditional
You don’t always learn things in a classroom or even from a textbook. Think outside the box. Discover new ways to change the setting and teach your students something new.
Give them assignments like documenting nature after school or interviewing their parents about their family tree. Have them come back to class, share what they learned, and then connect it to the lesson for the day.
The best way to engage middle schoolers isn’t one direct answer. But every strategy might be more fun than the last.