Today I'll look at Science. The Education Authority mandates for teaching science have a fairly universal theme. Most state/country outcomes will encourage tuition in earth and space (earth and space science), energy systems (physics and biology) and matter(chemistry).
This is fortunate as most children will be exposed to these themes in their everyday lives without even realising it, and facilitating science then turns into a simple matter of recording what you observe and backing that up with some experiments.
The amount of resources available for teaching science is enormous, and in our family, we find it really exciting to look for a cool experiment to do, hypothesise (predict) results, find the stuff and record findings in different ways (drawing, writing, sculptures, photos, poems, dioramas whatever fits)....a good resource for experiments and information is the CSIRO website, under DIY science.
Another fun way to do science is through Nature Study. If it's a gorgeous day outside rather than stay in we will pack our sketchbooks, pencils, watercolours and specimen containers and head to the beach, the forest or the Botanic Gardens. From a young age, our kids have been observing, discussing and recording their observations of nature. I have a wonderful book called Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E Roth. It gives ideas and examples for recording plants, animals, the seasons and so on. This ties in with Health and Physical Education too as the kids invariably run around for at least half an hour before we settle into observing/recording anything.
Craft and science can tie in nicely too...my kids have made solar system models as mobiles, coloured chalk on black card (set with hairspray), as 3d models...and that's just dealing with space. All subjects areas can be dealt with in this way if you get a good science project book or simply google the topic you are working with. We use My First Science Book a lot as the pictures are large enough for younger children to identify necessary materials and steps needed to complete the experiments.
As Alexandra got older, she looked at Biology, Chemistry and Physics in more detail. Once again, because she loves books, we used text books as a basis for study. We talked a lot about societal and ethical implications of things to keep issues relevant and interesting and she used a variety of medium to record her findings. There are plenty of on-line science options too if your child is likely to be more engaged that way.
Finally, it's worth mentioning that the CSIRO put out bi-monthly science magazines (Scientriffic for the younger reader and Double Helix for older children). They hold plenty of interesting information and activity-based functions, for a small membership fee, children of all ages can participate in a wide range of science based learning experiences. Your local Astronomical Society may also have regular viewing nights so you can experience looking at the night sky through a high power telescope.
Talk Soon, Cynthia x
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