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Weird Science

 
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chan58



Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Baltimore, MD

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 12:13 am    Post subject: Weird Science Reply with quote

At this age (5 years old), I'm focusing on science as a fun activity rather than a learning activity. I remember how much I LOATHED science growing up. I think its because I wasn't exposed to it until junior high school, when we had to sit at lab tables and study the elements Confused
I want them to associate science with observation and fun - like trying wacky stuff just to see what happens. Always the focus is on simple observation, and I take care not to press them too much for answers to my questions.
So we do things like make volcanoes (baking soda and vinegar), have balloon races on strings stretched across the yard, make paper airplanes (experimenting with lift adjustments and having distance races off the porch roof), even experimenting with various containers to see who can make the loudest burp!
Mom doesn't know about that one.
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Paul
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

<cue Homer Simpson voice >
Oooooooooooooh! Sciiiience!
</cue Homer Simpson voice>

I majored in Physics in college; science has always been fun for me ... except organic chemistry. Too many fiddly bits that have to be memorized.

My objective is to counter the Bill Nye _SCIENCE!_ presentation and to hand my children science as an everyday part of life. That's not to say that I don't ham up demonstrations when other families are involved. I had a set of coop classes one year that whould shout out "the handuman's secret weapon!" every time I pulled out a roll of duct tape. Within the family, we roll out demonstrations and set up experiments as topics come up. After chasing a rainbow with the car, we returned home and grabbed a prisim to diffract light ... then we grabbed another to put it back together again ... can't be messy and leave broken light around the house B-). Another day, we explored the house looking for levers. We've duct taped rat traps onto toy trucks, and used pinhole camerae to modle the human eyeball. My wife claims to be greatful every evening when she returns home from work to discover that we haven't blowen the back wall off of the house yet.

Paul
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chan58



Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Baltimore, MD

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, I wish I had your advantage - I know NOTHING of science. I'm a little concerned how to approach this subject as they get older. I'm hoping a good curriculum will help?

I'm curious as to why the aversion to Bill Nye - your insight there would be valuable especially with your background in science. He seems pretty popular, and his pitch actually seems to be science of the everyday.

I haven't exposed the kids to him yet, so I'm very interested in why folks would think he's not all that.
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Paul
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My complaint is not with Mr. Nye's demonstration's per se. Rather it's making science into something larger than life when my personal philosophy is that science is merely a method of observing what's around us day-to-day. We've repeted demonatrations from his show at home, and I've ruthlessly stolen ideas. He's got a good show, but we prefer Julius Summner Miller B-). And yes, we have several Bill Nye videotapes.

You probably understand more of science than you realize. Look, ask questions, experiment and research. Willingness to explore will trump an excyclopedic knowledge of scientific trivia any day. As far as your kids getting older, what should change is depth and rigor.

Let me give you an example. Take a pendulum and explore its properties. What happens to its period then you:

0) Change its mass
1) Change its length
2) Change how far you swing it

The easiest way to handle this is to use a stop watch to time five to ten swings. A small child can see the rough results quickly. An older elementry student can make charts and graphs. A middle school student can describe the behavior in terms of a simple harmonic ocillator. The high school student can show that it's _not_ a simple harmonic ocillator.

BTW, true to our reputation for mad scientific experiments, we hung a canvas bag from a playground swingset and loaded it with paving bricks for weights, and then retried the experiment at home with fender washers and monofiliment fishing line.

What started this process? "Papa, why do grandfather clocks have pendulums?" "Hmmm ... let's find out wat makes penduluns special for clocks."

Paul
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Househusband



Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 12
Location: Arkansas

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I think it best to treat science as the everyday thing that it is to keep the kids from getting anxious about it.
I try to incorporate side projects wherever I can. When I was installing a big dish analog satelite setup, I used that to teach about orbiting bodies, and my 7 year old at the time had a blast making a homemade sextant out of cardboard, a paper towel roll, some thread for crosshairs , tape and a compass , and sighting the thing in.. and after it was up and running, that excersize led to discussions about navagation ( because my son had seen "Little Bears" father using a sextant on his fishing boat on the cartoons )
It's amazing how much they are ready to absorb when it is fun.

----------Robert
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---------Robert, father of Wolf 14 and Katarina 8...and Hauke 5.
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kabbik28



Joined: 10 Oct 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:40 am    Post subject: Forum Reply with quote

I agree in 100%. You have put it all together.
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