For me science is a verb and an adjective, as well as a noun. Anyone can learn with the right tools and there isn't always one right tool for the job. I'm all up in those brain folds, probing around trying to help students enjoy the pain and suffering of putting their efforts toward a job well done. After all, I do teach middle school and sometimes everything is pain and suffering. But as Friedrich Nietzsche said, "What does not kill me, makes me stronger."
Inquiry is essential to any science lab so students are the captains of the ship. They must foster collaboration, ask probing questions and challenge each other's questioning, and constantly pursue knowledge for the sake of human kind.
Messes are acceptable in my lab and so is failure. The only caveat I provide is lab safety. Lab work should take into account the health and well-being of all those involved, so smear the glue on the paper and not in your eyeballs please. Thank you.
I reassure students that they will survive this time and learn to love it in the process. Their brains can be compared to the wonderful metamorphosis of a butterfly. As the caterpillar, students are hungry for knowledge devouring everything they can sink their mandibles into. When they enter the next stage of development, their brains turn into a beautiful chrysalis that houses the "brain soup" inside. Their individuality is still there but just in a sea of molecules swirling around trying to reshape its identity. But when that transformation occurs a triumphant, yet delicate creature emerges. It takes time for that creature to make itself strong. With a little help from the people around them, those beautiful creatures will pass on the strength to future generations.