With springtime in the air we’re all feeling the urge to spend more time outside exploring the wonders of our world, while at the same time those inevitable spring rains give us reason to stay inside and set up a few interesting experiments or mix together some strange concoctions!
In her great article, Learning and Doing Science (HEM, March/April 1999), Cafi Cohen writes, “Typical science activities include observing, measuring, categorizing, asking questions, forming a hypothesis (guessing how something works), proposing solutions, trying solutions (experimenting), summarizing findings, evaluating results, recycling back to observing, and sometimes reporting.” She observes, “If your daughter collects and classifies insects, that is science. If your son experiments with model rockets, that is science. Watching a PBS or TLC program on volcanoes is science. If your entire family reads and discusses everything they can find about a certain kind of cancer because a grandparent has recently been stricken, that is science.”
Science is all around us, all the time. Check out the great articles, resources and websites listed here for more information about teaching and learning science.
Articles on Science
Learning and Doing Science by Cafi Cohen – “It’s important to understand the differences between classroom science and real world science when deciding how to approach astronomy or chemistry or physiology with your teenagers.”
Caterpillar Secrets by Sue Smith Heavenrich – “‘Do you study biology?’ The high school student asked my children. She was curious about what homeschooled children studied.
‘No!’ stated my oldest, with all the authority he could muster. ‘We study caterpillars.'”
Fortuic Acid by Natalie Mortensen – “They looked at me with that please-say-yes-or-I’ll-die look in their eyes. I stared down at the mass (let’s use the exact word here) in the sink. I had to make one of those split second decisions.”
Ribbet! The Season of Frogs! by Rebecca Rupp – “The kids brought home a million frog eggs from the pond up the road, which, lovingly tended, turned into a million tadpoles, which were well on the way to turning into a million frogs when I cracked and insisted that 999,997 of them be returned – now! – to their natural habitat.”
Science a la Carte by Michelle Winkler – “I wanted eagerness and arguments – not over the lab equipment, but over hypotheses. I wanted to watch young eyes grow big with excitement as we prepared our experiments and waited to see if they would turn out as we had predicted.”
Feed the Birds by Rebecca Rupp – “It’s fine to feed the birds all year round, but a wonderful time to start is right now, in the heart of winter, when seeds are sparse and those birds who didn’t hightail it south in September really need a helping hand.”
Star Light, Star Bright by Barb Theisen – “The night sky has always fascinated me. Whether lying on the grass in our backyard as a child (up way past bedtime on a starry summer night) or sailing on the ocean (all alone in the cockpit on my night watch), I have always found comfort in looking up to see familiar companions like Ursa Major or Orion lighting the night sky.”
To Dissect or Not to Dissect by Rebecca Rupp – “Dissection, in more ways than one, is a tricky process. Some biology students find it distasteful; some find it morally suspect.”
Of Ponds and Tadpoles by Jeff Kelety - “I counted twelve in all, twelve very much alive tadpoles wriggling silently in the shallow, alien depths of their new home – the kids’ goldfish bowl.”
Rain, Snow, and Sun: Weather for Kids by Rebecca Rupp – “Weather is a wonderful home-study project. For one thing, it’s always right there outside the windows, doing something.”
HEM’s Reviews of Science Resources Reviewed by Mary Nix for HEM
TOPS Learning Systems Hands-on projects with simple items like rubber bands and paper clips
Science Projects for Kids Easy science experiments for kids
Carolina Biological Supply Extensive science resource supply catalog
Edmund Scientific Outstanding science supply and equipment website and catalog
Educational Innovations Teacher’s source for science workshop supplies
Exploratorium Science Snacks Miniature versions of some of the most popular exhibits
Science Friday for Kids Teaching materials for the popular radio program
Science Spot: Kid Zone Explore Astronomy, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science and more
For Kids Only: Earth Science Enterprise NASA’s kid-friendly science site
National Geographic Science Experiments Cool science tricks and experiments
Science News for Kids Creative ways of using science news
HEM Back Issues Package: Science & Math Science topics included in this six-issue selection: Science learning stations, butterflies, snowflakes, a selection of Rebecca Rupp’s Good Stuff science resources, dinosaurs, nature studies, museum resources and docent programs, light and electricity, and science toys.