Thursday, November 29, 2007
The End of November
Today we had our final experiment day of Force and Motion month. Again, we reviewed and used the scientific method—asking a question, doing research, making an hypothesis, experimentation, and documenting our results. Today’s experiment asked the question “Do heavy or light objects hit the ground faster?” Partners experimented with objects of the same size and shape, but different weights—a plastic fork and a metal fork, a clay ball and ping pong ball, an empty Pez dispenser and a full Pez dispenser, etc.
It has been a wonderful month full of discoveries – I’m always reminded each time we have a science theme how children truly are natural and enthusiastic scientists. I’ve heard from several parents that their children have come home from school, demanding some of the materials we used in our classroom experiments so that they can recreate or expand the experiment at home. (That makes this teacher very happy.)
What else can parents do?
In everyday interactions with your child, you can do many things—and do them without lecturing or applying pressure—to help her learn science.
Here are a few ideas:
See how long it takes for a dandelion or a rose to burst into full bloom.
Watch the moon as it appears to change shape over the course of a month, and record the changes.
Look for constellations in the night sky.
Bake a cake.
Solve the problem of a drooping plant.
Figure out how the spin cycle of the washing machine gets the water out of the clothes.
Take apart an old clock or mechanical toy—you don't need to put it back together!
Watch icicles melt.
Observe pigeons, squirrels, butterflies, ants or spider webs.
Go for a walk and talk about how the dogs (or birds or cats) that you see are alike and different.
Discover what materials the buildings in your community are made of. Wood? Concrete? Adobe? Brick? Granite? Sandstone? Steel? Glass? Talk about the reasons for using these materials.
Learning to observe carefully is an important step leading to scientific explanations. Experiencing the world with your child and exchanging information with him about what you see are important, too.