Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Science/Why Teach Science?



SidtheScienceKid
I have had people ask me such questions as:
  • You do science experiments?
  • What do you think Selena is really learning?
  • Why would you let her do that?
I have also heard statements such as:
  • She really does know what a hypothesis is.
  • She gives good theories.
  • She is too young for Science.
So why do I teach science? I feel the most important reason is it is fun! No, really it is! I am able to learn right along with and beside Selena. I know for myself my science was in the form of read, memorize, and just know that it is true. We did very little science experiments, well yes, we did dissect frogs. Oh sure, my dad was great when he took us out into nature to explain things to us, but mostly it was just what he knew, and not really full of science or exploration.
I truly want Selena to see science so much different then I did. I want her to open her mind to how great the world truly is around her. She should be able to ask questions and expect an answer or the opportunity to explore to find an answer. I want her to know that science doesn’t have to be something that some great scientist wrote, so all she has to do is read about him and his experiments and consider that to be all there is to the questions she has in her mind. Man has come along way and while many theories still remain just that theories, there have been many breakthroughs, discoveries, and advances allowing us to know much more then we ever have before about this great planet we call earth, and the vast skies or the solar system with all its planets, moons and stars.
We all hear of the benefits of teaching science, the skills such as the ability to observe, ask questions, compare, contrast, and explore. Yet, I truly believe we give our  children much more then just these skills when we give them science. We open their eyes and minds to endless possibilities which bring out their own personalities and learning curves. Some children do great to read the facts about what a spider is, and they retain that information, meaning they learned well, while other children do better by catching the spider in a jar, observing every aspect about it, comparing it to other bugs they have done the same thing with, and making their own observations as to how a spider grows, eats, and lives.
I truly feel if we observe how our children learn through science we can tone in on their learning curve, apply this to other subjects and really begin to create a learning environment our children will thrive in. I see Selena as being such a hands on learner, in science, math, reading, writing, spelling, geography, and history, but I didn’t understand this learning curve until we really started exploring science the way she wanted to learn science. Science has opened her up to the endless ways she can discover and learn in all areas of her life. We have discovered that if we give her the materials for what ever subject it is, and just let her explore, ask her questions, search for the answers, she truly thrives in her learning.
As an example, with her reading, now that we have studied the basic phonics, and have moved forward to whole words, just presenting Selena with words, that she can explore, study, break apart by syllables, compare to other words she knows, her reading skills are advancing at a very fast clip, in the same sense this has improved her spelling skills, she constantly spells the words that she is able to read. Same with math, if we present her with the materials, a math problem or situation, and allow her to explore, study, break it apart, she then begins to put the small math equations together in her head and begins to formulate the answers. These things start becoming more and more apparent in her play, reading, and general conversation.
We teach Science not only to teach Selena about this great world around her, but to also teach her how to think, explore and learn.
Now it is your turn, Why do you teach science to your young child? What method do you use to teach science, and what do you hope your child gains from science?
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11 comments:

  1. Science is a favorite subject around our house, along with history, so they always look forward to it. I guess I never thought about it beyond that. I do know that we put our math and writing skills to use when we do science work, but it is interesting to them, so they don't mind using the math and writing skills, where they would if I only did isolated math problems and writing assignments.

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  2. We definitely see science as a form of fun - certainly for the younger children. The older children do more reading, and digging deeper, which is fun too, but in a different way - for the younger children, it's all about opening up a world of wonder, so when they grow in understanding a little more - they'll want to dig deeper.

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  5. Science has always been one of my favorite subjects! For us, science is a lot of observing and noticing things in nature. I grew up memorizing and learning facts in school but was never trained to perceive. I believe it is a totally different skill! And I'm not very good at coming up with questions any longer, JC's expertise is to do just that! Her questions about the world force me to think, slow down and observe. It has made me much more appreciate of the world around us. So, science to us is beauty, nature, discovery, and asking good questions!

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  6. It's a great post. I think the ability to observe and to ask questions is the first step in raising life-long learners. Our approach to science is not based on any curriculum. It comes from reading books and answering Anna's questions. We will investigate whatever she finds interesting, but so far her interest is a lot more about how people think and why they behave the way they do than in how the world works. I am not a big fan of random experiments because she tends to forget those qucikly and learns very little from them.

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  7. Nice post! I am a bit torn right now. In general, I love exposing my son to any and all kinds of learning that he finds fun. But at only just about to turn 3, a lot of the meat behind any true science lessons goes over his head. So it is a challenge to find very simple science lessons that are also fun. I do think it is possible, but it takes research and planning on my part. In the meantime, we do use things like animal flashcards (was going to post about that today), but not for him to memorize facts (who really cares how much a hippo weighs?), but for him to learn new vocabulary - like "diet" meaning what each animal eats - and how to find answers among a page of facts. Mostly, I just do it because he loves it.

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  8. Fantastic post!!!!!!!!!! As you know, my children are in public school. I still do at least one science experiment with them each week. It's fun. I learn something. They enjoy the experiments and maybe they will remember something from each experiment. If not, it's still a great experience, but I bet they will remember something from each experiment. I'm not concerned about them knowing the details behind every experiment right now. I just think it's great for us to do together.

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  9. Nice Post! One of the reasons I love to expose my chidren to science is to keep their senses awake, and help them to be observant. Thank you for sharing this post.

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  10. I think young children are especially enthusiastic to learn new things and are great hands-on learners. They are natural scientists and it is important to encourage this inquisitive nature and allow them to verbalize their thoughts and observations. Plus, science is just plain fun!

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