Teaching Science Through Everyday Experiences
Science is everywhere. It’s in the electronic devices we use. It’s in the air we breathe. It’s in the pens we use. It’s in the toys kids play with. We can’t escape it. We use it everyday and don’t even think about it.
If something is this important to our everyday lives, we really should learn more about it. Thank goodness for all the great homeschool science curriculum available.
We can, also, teach and learn science through everyday experiences.
Embrace The Whys
Almost all kids go through the “why” phase. “Why does soap make bubbles?” Why is the sky blue?” “Why are my eyes brown?”
Kids are just curious. They are little sponges that love to learn about the world around them. They work exactly like scientists. They both wonder why something happened or why something is like it is. Scientists seek to find answers by researching, observing, and experimenting – just like kids.
I realize “why?” gets annoying after the 100th why of the day, but maybe if we embrace the whys and see them as educational opportunities we can get through them. Support our little scientists and help them find the answers they are looking for. There will come a day when the kids might stop asking why. Take advantage while you can.
When the kids ask questions like “Why is it snowing?”, talk about what you know about snow. Look for answers with your kids online or in books. Find the answers with them. As they get older, this will help them find the answers on their own.
Sometimes kids (especially older children) need a little push when it comes to expressing their curiosity. They might be curious about something and wonder how and why something works the way it does, but they might not think it is cool to be curious or they might not want to seem like they don’t know something. That is when you can model curiosity.
Sometimes when the kids are playing on their electronic devices and telling me they don’t want to do any more school or science projects, I just let them be and then start a project on my own near them. I might start reverse engineering something on the kitchen table or I might get out the microscope to look at things I find around the house up close. It doesn’t take long for the kids to come around.
I ask them questions that I have about what I’m doing and we brainstorm about possible answers. We observe and experiment together. Before they know it, we are learning and doing science! They just needed a reason and something to spark their curiosity.
Allow Time And Opportunity For Exploration
There are times when we just need to back away from the curriculum and make some time to explore, ask questions, and find answers. Some of our best homeschool lessons have come outside of the curriculum.
You might set aside a little time each day or an afternoon a week for “free learning”. Set out on a field trip to a museum or hiking trail. At home, allow kids the freedom to make a mess sometimes. Science can get that way.
Setting parameters is a good idea. Give kids their own work space even if it’s the kitchen table. Lay down some ground rules like no fire without adult supervision, no live animals in the house, or no destruction with out permission. These might seem to you like no-brainers, but trust me, you might have to spell it out to your excited young scientists.
If kids know they have freedom to observe and experiment, they will be more likely to actually do it. Your support and encouragement is vital.
Teaching science through everyday experiences is all about taking the time to let it happen. Your kids are natural born scientists. Allow them to observe, ask questions, and seek out answers. Help and guide them where necessary. Let them go wherever the journey leads them.
Science is everywhere, not just in a boring text book. Let your kids find it.
For more ideas for real life learning, check out these posts from the bloggers of the iHomeschool Network.