Teaching Science?

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Teaching Science?

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des. 6, 2007, 4:35 am

Just curious. I don't have kids, don't like kids and would send them to school if I did have any ... but I was reading a Royal Society of Chemistry article the other day that mentioned the rise of homeschooling and how this might impact on the sale of traditional Chemistry sets, and then going on to lament the removal of various chemicals that had made it more fun "in the good old days"

So I'm curious. How do you teach science at home? how do you inspire that sense of wonder from finding out how and why things are the way they are?

Or is it all just a rote set of facts to be memorised - the hottest part of a bunsen burner is the light blue tip of the flame - without getting to do that experiments that show this to be true?

des. 6, 2007, 2:37 pm

I can't speak for others here, but this has been our experience. When my children were in elementary school, K-6th, we covered science in very hands-on ways. We live in a wonderful geological area, and so many field trips were taken. This also applied to biology, environmental studies, etc. We also used many different books to try all sorts of experiments from chemistry to biology and most things in between. The textbooks I used called for daily experiments, etc. It helps that I love science.

Now that my children are teens, we have done biology by borrowing a very fine microscope from a fellow homeschooler for a year, thereby having a wonderful year exploring the very minute details. We also ordered a kit for dissections, collected various specimens, labeled, identified and classified. For chemistry, we used a textbook with online help and a kit which came with it to do all the experiments required to call it a "lab science". My husband taught that, because while I love the natural sciences, I get lost when you start adding math to the equation. We spent a year on health/anatomy by studying mostly in books and using videos. My eldest is taking Physics right now with husband.

Many of the homeschoolers I know will do classes together and share the lab expenses, or they sign up at the local colleges for beginning classes. Astronomy is a very popular course.

My personal opinion is that homeschooling only enhances the sciences, because instead of sticking to a stiff curriculum, you have the freedom to pursue your child's interest to the full. So my daughter pursued many of the sciences through her interest in horses, that was the jumping board. One of my sons seems to be interested in the mind and how it works, so we will be pursuing that as the interest point to explore the sciences. The other is into cars and computers, so he is hard on the trail of the mathematical sciences.

I know some parents who do not like sciences at all, so they either sign up for internet courses or share classes with a parent who does like them. I don't think this hinders the children at all.

Editat: des. 7, 2007, 1:04 am

I got my sense of wonder for the scientific from my family. I was traditionally schooled in the US and science outside of a textbook didn't exist until 7th or 8th grade (at least at my particular school). But I was very intrigued with the science of things well before the school allowed us to step away from the textbooks.

My wonder of the science behind things came from being with my family...in the garden, on the farm, around the tv with the new science special etc. I gained a vast appreciation for science from my dad who was always willing to talk about why something was/is/did and if he didn't know was great about saying "let's look it up."

I'm teaching a first grader and for science this year we have hands-on studies of several areas. But what my son really loves are our experiment books that are filled with simple experiments that will just a little help he can DO. He's free to pick up these any time and look for one to do.

I read an article I think in Wired last year that was lamenting the chemistry sets of today. I seem to recall it saying that chemistry sets today can do little more than mix up sparkley goo.

des. 16, 2007, 4:17 pm

Thanks for the replies. It was interesting to find out what you do.

As a book I came across this How to Fossilise Your Hamster: And 99 Other Experiments to Try at Home by Mick O'hare which looks fun. Suitable for all ages!

des. 17, 2007, 4:04 pm

#4 - Hmmm, we've mummified a chicken, but never fossilized a hamster!