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View Full Version : Learning style? esp science . .



dbmamaz
04-07-2011, 05:31 PM
Ok, I'm starting to wonder what exactly to do w my 7 yo again.

He is very content w T4L, tho he wants to avoid parts that are boring AND doesnt want to advance a grade. I dont worry since thats what he does when i'm busy w his brother

He loved our pre-history: big bang, evolution, but is less interested in history. A few things have grabbed his attention here and there - we got a book out on Joan of Arc yesterday because he expressed interest, and he was insensed at the end. Well, he did seem somewhat mollified that people KNEW they did the wrong thing after they did it. He seems mildly interested when we put things on the time line.

For science, we recently started using the free life science curriculum from the Lab of Mr Q. Raven really liked the text at first, and he can even read much of it himself. He even liked the activities of the first chapter. But this week was recycling - a subject he likes, as he has the magic school bus book, and plays games on Eeko whatever on pbs kids all the time. BUT . . . he sat staring at a page which required him to write words for almost 30 minutes before finishing. Let me clarify - write 4 words and 4 numbers (not written out). Then today, we recycled paper - he really did not like it. He didnt like ripping paper, he complained about getting his hands wet, he hated the noise of the blender and insisted on being out of the room, and he was totally grossed out by the pulp and refused to help spread it out, but kept begging to leave. He did, however, play w ooblek for a while during this time.

OTOH, last night he was asking about planets again. I dont remember why, but I said something about why the planets dont fall in to the sun, and he said "Because there's no gravity in space?". I said no, and then asked why the planets dont just float away from the sun in to space, and he said, excitedly, BECAUSE of the sun's gravity! I told him i didnt remember exactly why they dont fall in - something about the motion of the orbits and the spin, and he would learn the math about it later.

Now . . . I feel like he has a real interest in space, but i'm struggling to figure out how to really nurture that. I bought the intellego unit study for grades 3-5, but really, we'd already covered most of it, and it only gives a very cursory explanation of gravity and didnt seem to go in to the whys of orbits at all. Well, really, I dont think I've seen that explained much before high school. We actually did a home school day at the nearest space museum - there were models of planets and some items from space exploration . . astronauts doing presentations . . . he didnt really connect w anything unless it was the climbing area or the levers to push and pull.

I'm starting to think that my boys dont like hands on activities much more than I do. (remember, my older said he's rather read a bio textbook than do another activity with the dna model). M older son also had no interest in participating in the making paper project.

Does anyone have any ideas, suggestions, feedback?

thanks

farrarwilliams
04-07-2011, 05:43 PM
But he liked to push and pull things at the museum. Maybe he just doesn't like crafty hands on things? Actually, I think that museum is dreadfully dull and I *like* flight and astronomy! I dunno. Have you looked around for an astronomers' club? One of these meet in a field once a month with our telescopes and binoculars groups? Might he find that interesting? Are there lectures or anything like that which he might enjoy? Here, U of M does physics lectures once a month for the general public and they host a free viewing night at their high powered telescope with a little lecture and a chance to look up at the sky. Obviously, it would be above his head, but it could still be interesting, if you know what I mean?

dbmamaz
04-07-2011, 05:55 PM
I didnt mean the DC museum, I meant the one down in Norfolk or thereabouts. Or did you know which one I meant?

When we were studying the universe, I looked around a little - there are sometimes people who bring telescopes out to the science museum, but either its way past his bedtime, or its bitterly cold . . . I should look again. But the stars dont seem to interest him per se . . he's all about the logic of things? Like he was using one of the graphing sections of T4L today to create his own planet. He had the planets color coded - orange for the hottest through bright blue for the coldest. He explained that the warmest are closest to the sun, and he had only one that was called the 'life' planet, even tho he had 3 green planets.

He hasnt shown interest in constellations or in space travel, which is what most people seem to think kids are interested in. Maybe i'm not even sure what he's interested in. Sigh. I did, tho, notice that NASA has some on line games. I need to find the space encyclopedia i'd bought the other year and see if he's interested. But again - it was mostly 'these are the names and textures of the planets, and here is the history of space exploration'. IDK, i feel like there is something he's interested that i havent found. And i still think, most likely, it will have to wait until he's older. blargh.

farrarwilliams
04-07-2011, 07:53 PM
Nope. Just made a silly assumption.

We did "space" with one of our co-op groups this year (the one where the kids pick the topics). It was fun, but I also was stumped a little by how un-sciencey it was to study. We usually do science as a full hands-on, inquiry based kind of deal, but space is just really different. For these young kids, it's much more like studying history - here are the facts, here's some interpretations, here are some images... that's it. And I'm with you, I can find some creative ways in, and there's the whole observation piece outside with binoculars and so forth, but it's not like physics or chemistry or biology or even the rest of earth science where there's more ways in for younger kids.

wife&mommy
04-15-2011, 08:34 PM
I didnt mean the DC museum, I meant the one down in Norfolk or thereabouts. Or did you know which one I meant?

When we were studying the universe, I looked around a little - there are sometimes people who bring telescopes out to the science museum, but either its way past his bedtime, or its bitterly cold . . . I should look again. But the stars dont seem to interest him per se . . he's all about the logic of things? Like he was using one of the graphing sections of T4L today to create his own planet. He had the planets color coded - orange for the hottest through bright blue for the coldest. He explained that the warmest are closest to the sun, and he had only one that was called the 'life' planet, even tho he had 3 green planets.

He hasnt shown interest in constellations or in space travel, which is what most people seem to think kids are interested in. Maybe i'm not even sure what he's interested in. Sigh. I did, tho, notice that NASA has some on line games. I need to find the space encyclopedia i'd bought the other year and see if he's interested. But again - it was mostly 'these are the names and textures of the planets, and here is the history of space exploration'. IDK, i feel like there is something he's interested that i havent found. And i still think, most likely, it will have to wait until he's older. blargh.
I've watched some crazy shows on I think it was the science channel about a lot of space related things, black holes, planets and such. I know this isn't a curriculum, but maybe watching something on there would spark his interest in a particular subject? My kids love space, too, but they are younger.

MrsLOLcat
04-16-2011, 01:27 AM
I recorded a couple of shows off of the National Geographic Channel about space last night. One was called "Journey to the Edge of the Universe," and it was narrated by Alec Baldwin. It is shot almost entirely using computer animation. It seemed kind of slow to me, but it also seemed like something a younger audience would enjoy, which is why I recorded it. Lots of numbers are thrown out, so it'd be a lot of fun to take some of the numbers and play with ways to demonstrate them (at one point the show says something along the lines of, "If the universe was a mile wide, we've moved about three inches," and it would be easy to make charts to demonstrate things along those lines). The show is also presented very categorically. It talks about the elements and some of their origins and is definitely presented from an evolutionary point of view. I don't know that it'd really give you anything to DO, but it might give you an idea about whether he's really got an interest in this field or not.

If he doesn't like writing or doing messy hands-on projects, would he be interested in creating his own movies? He could pretend to be a professor or whatever and record himself talking about whatever topic he's presenting on, and you could videotape it. You could encourage him to create visual aids to go with his videos and have him explain them.

That's all I've got. Oh, and if you want to demonstrate gravity and the forces... you can try this, if you haven't already. Get a blanket and toss a ball (like a baseball) in the middle. You hold two corners and have him hold the other two. Try to keep the corners at the same height but leave it a little slack. Show him how it sits in a 'hole' in the middle because it's not moving and gravity pulled it to the middle (i.e. where the sun would be). Then use the blanket to start swinging the ball around in a circle and show him how it can stay in orbit as long as it keeps moving at a constant rate. Even though the same amount of gravity is still pulling on it, the motion keeps it from sinking back to the middle. Try different speeds and show him how, if the ball moves too quickly, it will eventually fly out of its 'orbit' and off the blanket, or if it slows down it gets pulled back to the middle and stops. :)

hockeymom
04-16-2011, 06:10 AM
Cara, we ran into something similar with space earlier this year. DS loved it, was totally passionate about learning about the planets, but like Raven, constellations and space exploration left him lukewarm at best. He devoured enormous amounts of books on the planets from the library, we spent lots of time online at places like NASA, did some projects and reading from Ology (http://www.amnh.org/ology/index.php?channel=astronomy#) (American Museum of Natural History, very cool site)...but it wasn't enough. After a while the information just kept repeating itself and I had a hard time finding new--yet accessible to a 7 yo--facts to satisfy him. I think he'd still be studying space if I'd been successful. I wish I had advice for you other than what's already been suggested. I like Sarah's idea of making a video if he's into that kind of thing, and of course Nat. Geo often has cool programs to watch. We've actually spent time watching the astronauts floating around on the NASA channel, a rather dull activity if you ask me, but DS was fascinated.

Teri
04-16-2011, 08:42 AM
We had a really cool experience with the HAM radio operators through boy scouts. Joseph was chosen to talk to an astronaut on the space shuttle via HAM radio at a big event (he was one of about 20 boys). When the time came for the event, they had this window when the shuttle was between Australia and Hawaii to connect and they couldn't. It was really disappointing.
I posted about it on FB the next day....That it was a cool thing, but Joseph was a bit disappointed.
A friend from high school, who is a minister, said that a friend of HIS was the minister at NASA and could hook us up. So this friend contacted his friend, who talked to an astronaut at NASA who sent Joseph a letter, patches, stickers, mission pictures...all kinds of stuff! And he said he would have the astronaut in question send him stuff as soon as he got back from space.
It was very cool.
I guess if he is not interested in that kind of thing, it wouldn't be very fun to him, but the astronauts are apparently ok with being contacted. LOL

When my oldest was MUCH younger (like jr. high?), he read Carl Sagan's book, Cosmos. It's on dvd too, right?

dbmamaz
04-16-2011, 10:11 AM
Its so funny - i wrote this less than 2 weeks ago, but his current obsession has moved on for the moment and now I get all these responses!!

Its all good food for thought, tho, thanks. And we did watch several episodes of Cosmos back when we were studying it. which was in october lol.

in other news . . . my state is listed as RI? Obviously, i must now go fix that . . .

Ariadne
04-21-2011, 09:56 PM
I recorded a couple of shows off of the National Geographic Channel about space last night. One was called "Journey to the Edge of the Universe," and it was narrated by Alec Baldwin.
Found it on YouTube in case anyone was wondering.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ1rcY8hkyk

cloudswinger
04-30-2011, 11:53 AM
I found that for science and the younger set, the Zula Patrol show it pretty decent. It's a cartoon, but the science is solid. It's set in space, with little lessons on things like magnetism, gravity, the planets etc.

Space is hard to study, it's probably a little abstract for younger set and it's not like you can just go to space to study it! Nasa has some curriculum stuff, but they are geared toward older kids. My plan is just getting my dd interested with sci-fi shows first, like Star Trek.

chatpatka
05-13-2011, 06:04 AM
For HS parents in Europe, who are wondering about science for smaller kids I would like to suggest the Da Vinci Learning channel. My eldest has a knack for science, which rubs off on the others and he loves that channel, even though he's 10 now. They give examples of simple experiments you can do at home and it's fun. Here's the web site: http://da-vinci-learning.com/, although it has little more than information on it.

I had a great idea for studying space - just turn the kids' room into a biiig space-chart :) I'm planing this as a big bad-weather project when they're done with their organized schooling. We are going to make papier-mâché planets, color them and hang them from the ceiling in the correct order, with the Sun in the middle. Then we'll get some fluorecent stars and make the constellations on the walls. My 10-y.o. is studying big numbers, so he will make all the calculations on down-sizing the Solar System. You don't have to be THAT punctual with smaller kids. They will probably love the project too :) And they will love playing in their room at least for the next couple of days :)
I love doing projects! They give room for a lot of discussion and develop all kinds of skills, AND they bond you with your kids like nothing else :)

Greenmother
05-13-2011, 08:56 PM
Thanks for the link and the idea sounds great too!