Friday, April 10, 2009

How I Teach Science

In planning science education, I matched science to mathematics and then worked my way backwards. So essentially, I look at this chart:

Calculus = advanced science
NEM 4 (trig/beyond algebra II) = physics or advanced
NEM 3 (algebra II/trig) = chemistry or physics
NEM 2 (geometry) = biology or chemistry
NEM 1 (algebra) = physical science or Biology 8th to 9th grade science
Singapore Math PM 6 (7-8th grade math) = General or physical science
Singapore Math PM 5 (6th grade math) = General or independent studies
Before 6th grade math = independent discovery science

So what do we do for "independent discovery science"?

We start with nature studies which is a little as playing with sticks, leaves, seed pods and digging the dirt. We talk about the animals we see and spend a lot of time outdoors.

When they get a little older around age 4 or 5, they get butterfly nets, magnifying glasses, bug boxes and field guides. They get their own little plot in the garden and they experience nature hands-on on their own. We may also do lapbooks about animals they like or are interested in.

Around age 8 or 9, I start handing them science kits to "play" with or do together. Lego's, water play, a microscope, simple chemistry set, physics sets, any sort of exploratory toy. I hand these over and let the child play and discover and dream. Some sets we do together like the chemistry set and the microscope.

And once they are doing sixth grade math we will start with our first real science textbook. Now we have had lower elementary texts hanging around the house and we have tried to work through some of them but they really lack the hands-on quality. What these texts are good for is to reinforce concepts that they have learned about on their own.

Other things we do for science include:

watching Modern Marvels on the History channel
watching shows on Animal Planet
checking out some of the science DVDs at the library
and checking out interesting books at the library

How do you make science fun and interesting?

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