Elementary Science: Keep it Simple
- Friday, September 13, 2002
So that's what JB did. And did. And did some more. In a short while we had a freezer full of bugs. (Note: based on my experience, labeling is highly recommended!) The day of reckoning arrived and it was time to pull all of the little critters out, identify them, and mount them with pins.
We pulled them out. They defrosted. We quickly discovered we weren't supposed to LEAVE them in the freezer for storage; rather we were meant to use it to quickly kill them. Defrosting beetles and then sticking a pin in them is not an activity I'd recommend for the squeamish ... But, and here's the good news, we learned much, had fun, and created vivid memories. Sometimes learning it with our kids "the second time around" is all it takes to ignite a love for a topic.
Ten Strategies For Developing A Love Of Science
- Read aloud from interesting science books and provide kids with such books to read independently.
- Collect things: this is natural for most kids! Encourage them to classify their collections.
Grow things: cultivate their use of observation and recording of findings.
Visit places: from zoos to doctors' offices and vacant lots - science lurks all around us!
Set up ecosystems: backyard habitats, bug cages, aquariums, terrariums.
Make recipes and concoctions together: experiment.
Observe nature: insects, birds, weather, seasons, etc.
Use construction/engineering toys: blocks, Fisher-Technics, Legos, etc.
Model "look it up" and "lifelong learner" behavior: attitude is (almost) everything. Your enthusiasm is contagious!
Use reference and resource materials regularly. Keep lab notebooks of various sorts.
My Six Step Plan
1. Pick a topic. For example: Rocks, minerals, and fossils; Machines & motion; Solar System; Energy; Human body; Heat, light & sound; Weather; Chemistry; Nature and environment; Creation; Animals; Ocean/seas.
Gather an assortment of resource books, colorful picture and informational children's books, games, and videos about your chosen topic.
2. Encourage the kids to read books and look at pictures as much as they wish. Take special note of any strong interest and foster it.
3. Plan experiments, activities, crafts, and even recipes to use in learning about your topic. Make a list of potential trips to take.
4. Using the materials you've gathered, make a lesson plan for the next six-to-eight weeks.
5. Keep a book list and a record of your studies - either one family notebook or individual student notebooks. Don't forget to take pictures!
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