Hands-on Activities with Multimedia Enhancement

Here we show, as an example, a series of hands-on activities on the topic of sound that we developed, in conjunction with teachers, for young school children. A fuller catalogue of resources can be found at the project website at http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/primary-school-science/. This multimedia example is designed to be used in conjunction with teacher's background notes on the topic of sound.

"The lesson involves “stepping” the students through a number of related activities in a pre-arranged (logical) manner. The multimedia visualisations were assembled like a slide show. Each slide contains accompanying material in the form of film clips, animations and/or stills. The slides could prompt an activity, serve as a discussion point after an activity or raise related questions or examples for discussion. The students would proceed through the various segments of the module, alternating between the hands-on activities they undertook as part of a small group and the interaction they had as a class whenever the teacher was guiding them through the multimedia instruction. This step-at-a-time approach provides adequate segmentation so as to ensure that the student’s cognitive resources are not overloaded (Mayer and Moreno 2003). Depending on the activity, the students could either work individually, in pairs or as a small group. Seating arrangements meant that there were about 5-6 groups of 4-5 students. Each activity concluded with team discussion followed by class participation in a short follow up facilitated by the teacher. This strategy ensured that all students kept pace with the lesson and had adequate opportunity to be involved in the communicative and interpersonal aspects of the lesson.