Thread: Teaching Science
04-11-2017, 05:47 PM #1
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- Feb 2017
I see that this is a common concern (what curricula, etc.) and have read many posts here about it. I'm looking for some feedback/thoughts/philosophy on the actual experience of teaching your kiddos science. I love science, but do not have a serious science background. I have 2 little boys (6 and 5) who LOVE science. We are using Elemental Science's Intro to Science (intended for K/1) and I've been fairly happy with it. I supplement it a lot to bring more depth, especially for my 6yo, and I'm often a bit frustrated that it has so little in depth discussion.
I guess my questions are...what resources have been helpful in learning how to teach science? I sometimes feel that I'm not setting the stage properly, or framing the experience right. Often they totally grasp the desired info from an experiment, but sometimes they just don't, despite all the "pieces" being in place. I'm thinking that may be partly a matter of managing my own expectations, but I think I could probably do a better job of presenting the material or laying out the foundations of scientific theory. What have you all found that has helped?
And also, experiments. We love experiments and I enjoy setting them up and planning them. But with 2 active little boys, it can often turn into a free for all. Is this just a factor of age/personality? Are there ways you've found to gently keep things focused (at least enough to get the point) while allowing the free fun and exploration? I am totally OK with excitement and play that helps instill the love of science, but I also want the lesson to be absorbed, especially for my older one. I'd appreciate any advice on how to lead them through an exciting experiment while balancing fun and shenanigans with learning. Sometimes the fun seems to eclipse the message, and when I'm asking them for their conclusions, I get a blank stare or something totally inaccurate, unrelated, or obviously pulled out of their ass.
04-11-2017, 08:04 PM #2
For me, who has very little science background. (And I mean a little, I took Physics for Poets in college and what ever liberal arts versions of science classes my college offered)
I do not worry about how much DS9 gains from the experiments at this point. We do experiments, talk about the why, but I don't to the worksheets. We are working on creating a science journal, but it is more about photos of what crazy thing we managed to explode that day. (And when I say explode, I mean in the vinegar and baking soda way, not the Mythbusters way.)
We do watch lots of Bill Nye videos, as well as others to teach the concepts. I have decided to be real laid back about doing science. Have lots of fun, learn a little stuff. My child seems to grasp the ideas better from the videos and then we do some of the experiments where he can explain what he learned from the video. I think it works out better that way.Choosing Our Own Adventure with DS 9
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04-11-2017, 08:48 PM #3
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For that age, I can definitely give a shout-out to Science4Us...especially if you are looking for a combo of offline/online science learning. The biggest thing, especially in the early years, is to simply keep science FUN. You can cultivate a true scientist (or two) if you never let it devolve into busy work, or math for the sake of math, or overly academic ramblings. Science is meant to be experienced and played with. Sure, in the high school years you'll have to bog down into some science formulas and theorems, but for now - - especially in early elementary - - just make sure it's FUN!Topsy
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04-14-2017, 01:03 AM #4
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- Feb 2017
Thanks for the responses! It's definitely fun right now...possibly too fun (hence the shenanigans). I think it sounds like that's ok. I'm looking at BFSU as it looks like it has a lot of the background I'm looking for, whether I end up using it as a curriculum or not. I want their science instruction to be pretty rigorous (in terms of quality and effect, not that I don't want it to be fun) as we are in Silicon Valley and I think you really need a solid STEAM foundation here (and in life in general these days).
04-21-2017, 11:24 AM #5
YES! What Topsy said, keep it fun! I teach science classes for homeschoolers and to be honest its the only subject we really do consistently. The most important thing is that they have a good attitude and enjoy science, see it for the the wonder that it is. When they're older they will want to read books on their own to figure out the 'why' or perhaps make up their own expeirments - I would ENCOURAGE the play and fun with the experiments. Its ok if they don't want to do it the way the instructions say but you might say, ok, I'l do it following the instructions and you do it your way and we'l see what happens, or better yet, ask them what they think will happen before they do their 'expeirment'. But changing kids attitude toward science is the main reason why I teach it. Magic School bus and Bill Nye are great resources for the younger years. Youtube has tons of videos with cool experiments that you can do at home - all my classes are hands on based. Reading about science can not compare to seeing it yourself!Stay at home physicist - Mom to C (16) and J (13)