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Hands On Science
Searching for a way to get your homeschooler excited about science? If so, you already have everything you need, right there at home.
My wife and I homeschool our four kids, and using everyday items from around the house, we spark a love for science through a hands-on approach. Each week we utilize this approach to teach and reinforce the scientific method and basic concepts in life science, earth science, and physical science. Using a straw with a paper wrapper and water, you can create a straw worm.
Straw with Paper Wrapper
STEP 1: Using your fingers, completely scrunch the wrapper to the end of the straw.
STEP 2: Remove the scrunched up wrapper and place it on a flat surface.
STEP 3: Using the straw and your finger, slowly add a few drops of water to the scrunched up wrapper, and observe.
Each time you added a drop of water, the paper absorbed the water, causing the scrunched up wrapper to look like it was moving on the flat surface.
You should encourage your homeschooler to ask questions and then to use the scientific method to get answers when doing any experiment. The scientific method is a step-by-step process used to ask and answer scientific questions.
STEP 1: Ask a Question – The scientific method starts by asking a question. Encourage your child to “figure it out,” and don’t give them the answer, only clues that will help them “figure it out” on their own. This will help your child develop strong critical-thinking skills.
STEP 2: Form a Hypothesis – A hypothesis is an educated guess. A hypothesis should be measurable.
STEP 3: Design and Perform an Experiment – Design and perform an experiment that will prove your hypothesis true or false.
STEP 4: Analyze the Results – Once your experiment is complete, gather and analyze all data to determine if your hypothesis is true or false. If your hypothesis is false, go back to STEP 2, and create a new hypothesis.
STEP 5: Communicate the Results – Communicate your results via a report and/or presentation.
There are two approaches to teaching science . . .
Spiral–Students are taught small portions of specific concepts in science throughout the year. Each school year, students revisit these concepts in a detailed fashion. Immersion–Students are taught a specific course in science for a semester or more, allowing them to gain a detailed understanding of specific science concepts.
I would encourage the spiral approach for students in kindergarten through eighth grade and the immersion approach for high school students.
Whatever the approach, it’s very important to make sure there are a lot of hands-on experiments.
Jason Lindsey is an award-winning science educator and author. Jason studied science and journalism at Western Kentucky University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology. Jason has worked diligently for more than 10 years to take science beyond the classroom window. Each year he performs hands-on science experiments at hundreds of schools and community events throughout the United States. His hands-on, kid-friendly, science classes and camps are offered throughout the year and have helped hook thousands of kids on science. Jason is married to Lena Lindsey. They keep busy with their four kids Conner, Ethan, Brynna, and Madigan. Visit Jason’s website HookedonScience.com.
Take a look below at this month’s resources for additional ideas. Be sure to let us know how you teach science in your homeschool. Email Paul and Gena Suarez and share your story. We’d love to hear about it!