Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer of Science: week 1

It has begun!  Summer vacation may be 3 weeks old, but our Summer of Science has (finally) officially begun!  Every Thursday I will share our journeys through science this summer.

Developing critical thinking through science: Book one
This is the book we are (loosely) using to inspire the kids to THINK.  But not just think... think scientifically.  I hope to use Book Two in Brenden and Brooke's science curriculum this next school year.  Book One is a good start for learning how to observe, experiment, observe, classify, observe, think, and did I mention observe?  You get the idea!

We started this week by discussing what observation is.  The kids and I collected some 'lost things' on a walk Tuesday which we then spread out to observe.

We discussed how there are different ways to observe (senses and implements).  I also pointed out that what looks plain or obvious at first glance, may not always be so when you get a closer look. 

Neighbor kids and cousins had toppled by when we began.  One young man (7 exactly!) was not very impressed that we seemed to be doing 'school work'!  However, as everyone else around the table used magnifiers to observe the obvious and find the interesting, he too was captivated and the only complaint was whose turn it was to use the high-power magnifier!

All-in-all our first installment of S.o.S. (Summer of Science) was a raving success!  If you would like to conduct your own S.o.S, it is simple.  Start with what you have!  If you would like to duplicate our adventures, here is what we did:

- We took a walk!  You don't have to, but it is so much more fun!  We carried plastic grocery bags and collected things.  I reminded the kids that not all things seem interesting at first, don't collect based on interest!  Just collect!  With younger children you may need to set perimeters so they aren't picking up yucky stuff!  With ages 8-13 I was able to say, "Don't pick up anything that can go in someone's mouth" and "If you aren't sure, ask me before you pick anything up".  That worked well ;-)

Example of some things collected:  leaves, sticks, broken plastic, fire cracker paper, pen, bottle caps and flower petals.

- Set up a table with magnifying glasses (we had cheep ones and they worked great) and, if you have it, a microscope and/or other high power magnifier.  I also had some pre-made slides from an old microscope set.  The kids loved these as much as their other finds!
 -  Ask leading questions to spark their interest and curiosity, then hang on and be ready for the ride.  It is amazing the things they will notice and think to look at (not just on the table) like toe nails, shirt hems and the inside of the pet's ears!  Be ready to look too, act interested, it inspires them.

-  Most important step:  have fun!

If you have any great science activities to share or a science blog to mention, please feel free to share in the comments section below!  I would love to see what science you are doing this summer!

Next week we use our observation skills to explore WATER!  Join us!

Blessings for lots of summer fun!

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