4 October 2017
Teaching Kids Science Is Getting Easier
Posted by Dan Satterfield
In the past, many people worries that many home-school parents did so because of religious objections to evolution, climate change science and geology. This is still a concern in the science community, but there are nearly 2 million kids being homeschooled now, and I suspect that most just want their kids to be well prepared for college, with high critical thinking skills.
I think that’s great. Indeed, the most important aspect of science that students need to be taught is that science is not a bunch of facts. Instead, it’s a way of thinking. We accept what we can test, and we discard ideas that fail those tests. And most importantly, if it’s not testable, then it’s not science. This way of thinking has taken us from burning witches at the stake to visiting the Moon and sending robots to the far outer planets in 3 centuries. We have a name for it too. Scientific Method and it’s too often ignored in the rush to teach the basics.
This way of thinking has taken us from burning witches at the stake, to visiting the Moon and sending robots to the far outer planets in just three centuries.
Students should also be taught critical thinking skills. They need to understand what cognitive bias is and how it can affect their judgement, and this is especially true in this era of the conspiracy theory. They need to understand the placebo effect and the Dunning-Kruger effect as well. Richard Feynman was right when he said that “Science is what we do to keep from lying to ourselves.”
If you are a home-school parent and are struggling to teach science, I have some resources for you courtesy of Jenny Wise who teaches her children at home. She sent me some links that are worth sharing for all parents, not just those who teach their kids at home. I also must give a shout out to Khan Academy here. It is simply brilliant and now covers many science subjects along with maths.
As a homeschool teacher, I know that science isn’t an easy subject for everyone – in fact, one of my kids really struggles with it even though he loves it – so I’m always on the lookout for ways to make science more approachable. These are a sampling of the latest I’ve come across, and I invite you to share these on your site!
50 Easy Science Experiments for Kids Using Household Stuff
Astronomy at Home: A Guide for Exploring Outer Space from Your Backyard
Free Field Trip Ideas for Homeschoolers
The Home-Based Safari Guide: How to Safely Observe Wildlife from Your Home
10 Best Science Apps for Kids
Pre-K – 12 Student Geometry Lesson Plans
Build / Make an Invention
10 Great Inventions Dreamt Up By Children
SciShow Kids YouTube Channel
This is a great collection of kids’ videos that explores all sorts of science topics. They’re great to use alone, or to introduce an in-depth science plan.
If you’d like additional science resources, or if you’re looking for info on a particular science topic, please let me know. I’m happy to help any way I can, either through sharing articles I find or even writing new ones on how to make science fun for kids. Thanks in advance for the opportunity!
Jenny Wise | [email protected]
For teaching ways of thinking one good way is to read works by discoverers. In geology this could include Lyell and Darwin. One might want to also include works on the Missoula floods to show how thinking can change over time such as Cataclysms on the Columbia. In at least Lyell’s case Principals of Geology is largely about how to think about earth history. In many case the history of science might teach the way of thinking better than modern ideas.
Do you really think a parent who home schools their children for religious reasons will take advantage of such resources? They don’t want their children to engage in critical thinking. It might challenge their religious convictions.
n at least Lyell’s case Principals of Geology is largely about how to think about earth history. In many case the history of science might teach the way of thinking better than modern ideas
I agree. The best way to understand science is to look at the history and it can be a great way for non-scientists to understand it better.