Friday, March 6, 2009

School Subjects: Science

Science is one of our favorite subjects around here. I think it's because we study science in so many different ways. We observe the natural world through nature hikes, read about science topics in good textbooks and lots of supplemental books, and we do experiments and hands on activities that help the kids grasp a concept.

I'm disappointed to say we just haven't gotten out to do our nature hikes like we've done in years passed. I have to admit, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Night Owl isn't with us this year. He is such a huge help on outings! I was a little nervous about heading to the woods with 4 little ones. Eventually we came to the realization though, that there was plenty of wildlife to see right here at home. We can see dear, wild turkeys, many kinds of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, ducks, muskrats, racoons, ground hogs and even a couple of red foxes right here at home.

Yesterday the weather was absolutely beautiful so we headed out into our backyard for a hike. We discovered buds on the trees which was a hopeful sign of spring even though a lot of the snow hasn't melted yet.

We had lots of fun, got some fresh air, and reminded ourselves of the importance of quietly observing God's creation and learning all that we can from it. And gosh, we even found an old ball we thought we had lost forever!

The textbook we are using this year is wonderful. It is actually Social Butterfly's book but it is written in a way that it hold's Jetter's attention as well. Because of this we have Science class in the afternoon and I read the book to the kids. They all listen, and then we do further reading in other books about the same topic, or we do some sort of worksheet, or workbook page. We're currently doing a unit on birds and the kids will build bird feeders and make observations regarding what types of food different birds prefer. They've enjoyed finding the birds they see in the field guide and learning the names of some that they didn't already know.

Finally, we do hands on investigations and science experiments. This has to be Builder's favorite thing! Here is a picture of a recent study we did on density.

We filled a jar with three different liquids; corn syrup, colored water and vegetable oil. The kids had to find small objects to drop into the jar guessing when they would float and when they would sink. The only item they could find that would float on the oil is a corn chip! A lego and an army guy fell through the oil but floated on the water, a cashew sank through the oil andwater but floated on the corn syrup, and a marble and a popcorn kernal sank to the bottom. They had fun, and learned a little about the concept of density while they were doing it.
Besides experiments that we all do together, I have lots of activities set up in the classroom that the kids can use to explore scientific concepts on their own. Magnetism, force and motion, magnification and rock formation are just a sampling of the materials the kids can choose from. These are the things that they turn to when they are done with their school work, so I try to keep the shelves stocked and inviting!

No comments: