Elementary Science: Keep it Simple
- Friday, September 13, 2002
1. To approach problems using the process of orderly thinking (the basis of the scientific method).
2. To allow the boys time for in-depth exploration when they lit on a topic they loved.
3. To generate and maintain an enthusiasm for science.
I don't always LOVE science!! Some sciences I find to be a bit, *ahem*, well, boring. Other times I might find it to be, technically speaking, gross! (Think frog dissections and bug collections.) This reminds me of a key principle in teaching science to our kids: our attitudes. (Yes, ours, not theirs!) Here's a real life example:
Attitude Is Contagious!
We were studying insects. JB was about 12 and, of course, what is the obvious project to do with an insect unit? Right: a collection. I'd avoided it because I hate using those "killing jars." But I knew my attitude was contagious so I asked God for some gusto and went for it. My girlfriend told me I didn't need a killing jar; she said to "just put the insects in little margarine containers and stick them in the freezer." Perfect!
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.
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