How to Create a Lightbulb Moment in the Classroom

I love watching students have that lightbulb moment when they understand something and know that hard work pays off.

When asked what the most rewarding part about being a teacher is, many answer that it is when a student has a “lightbulb” moment. Watching as a child lights up when they accomplish a task that they have been working on is exciting. Remembering turns into understanding, and the student becomes proud of himself.


“I love watching students have that lightbulb moment when they understand something and know that hard work pays off.” – Katie D.

Achieving “ah-ha” moments oftentimes create a sense of victory in a teacher. How do we create these lightbulb moments in our classroom?

Encouragement Creates Lightbulb Moments

In order to achieve greatness in a classroom, a child needs to feel encouraged. Praising a child for attempting a task pushes them to work harder. Children are more likely to reach their goal when they feel like their teacher believes in them. It may take multiple attempts, sweat, and tears, but they will eventually get that “ah-ha!” moment. Never give up on a student that continues to struggle. You may just be the one to help illuminate their knowledge.

The “Pause” Creates Lightbulb Moments

One of the biggest mistakes teachers make is answering their own question immediately after it has been asked. When this happens, children put a wall up for the rest of the lecture. The “pause” refers to a time after a question is asked. Waiting before answering the question yourself encourages children to think about and formulate an educated response. Silence is awkward, and students will answer the question just to break it. Providing them with ample time to process the question gives them a better chance to understand the content.

Getting to Know the Student Creates Lightbulb Moments

Class time is more fun when the content presented is relatable or suits a child’s interests. When teachers take time to get to know the interests of their students, they make lightbulb moments possible. If a student is struggling with addition and is interested in sports, find ways to relate addition to sports, such as our March Madness Basketball Addition Activity. Students that are having problems understanding the scientific method and are more visual learners may benefit from a video such as our Scientific Method Song Video. Children are more eager to learn and push through barriers when they feel like their teachers understand them.

Teaching is a rewarding job in itself, but these lightbulb moments are what make the tough days worth while. We at Have Fun Teaching hope that you continue to strive for these moments in your classroom. Each child, no matter their academic level, deserves an “ah-ha!” moment. Reaching these moments can better you as a teacher and your students a learners.


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