Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Science Fun

 "School's out for the summer!"  (for some of you)
"School's out forever!" (for those of us who graduated our last student)

Whatever your situation, even if you homeschool year-round, incorporating learning into everyday life is a great way to learn.

My guest post today is by Jamie Strand, a former homeschooler and dad of two girls.  He wants to inspire everybody to be amazed by science.  To that end, he has developed a website that lists science camps all over the country.  It's possible this is not an exhaustive list, so if you know about a science camp that is not listed, let him know.  I know SMU in Dallas, TX hosts science camps in the summer and is not on his list.

Read on for some easy and fun science activities you can do to inspire an interest in science for your child.

 3 Science-Based Lesson Plans for Kids Who Hate Science

There are many reasons some kids hate science. But, it is possible to inspire a love of science in these kids with carefully selected lesson plans and experiments. Here are three science-based lesson plans for kids who hate science. I hope that these activities will turn around kids’ attitudes toward such an important (and fun!) subject.

1. Marker Molecularity

One of the best ways to inspire kids who hate science is to show them the science of everyday objects, like markers. Kids may not realize that most colors are composed of several different dyes, and even more tiny molecules. For this lesson, you’ll need a bowl of clean water, strips of paper towels, and markers of 3 or more different non-primary colors (like orange, green, and pink).
Image via Pixabay via TBIT

Put a different colored wavy line on each strip, about an inch from the edge. Ask the child to make a hypothesis about what will happen when the strip touches the water.
Next, instruct the child to dip a strip into the water so the bottom edge is submerged, but not the wavy line. Hold the strip in place until the water begins to absorb into the towel, making the ink mark spread. Have the child note his observations. Then, ask him to make a new hypothesis for the remaining strips. Finally, repeat the dipping process with each strip. The child will see that the various dyes in each color are revealed.

Explain that the water molecules bond with the ink molecules, spreading them out on the paper towel. This process of separating the dyes, as with separating the components of any mixture, is called chromatography.

2. Transparent Plants

Some kids hate science because they can’t visualize the concepts. One science-based lesson plan for kids like this is Transparent Plants. Transparent Plants is a fun and easy way to let students learn about plants by watching a real seed grow and sprout.

You’ll need CD cases, potting soil, water, and lima beans. First, have the kids fill the CD case with a little potting soil. Be sure the hinges of the CD case are at the top so they will stand up without allowing the dirt to fall out. Next, plant the bean high in the soil and tape the bottom shut. Use a dropper to water the bean through the opening at the top of the CD case and place it in the sunlight.

Kids will observe the plant grow, and they should measure its growth and record the changes they observe in their plant every few days. It’s also helpful to supply the children with journals or bean growth sheets so they can easily track the plant’s growth. After about a week, give the students markers or paint pens to label the parts of the plant directly on the CD case. 

3. The Physics of Pool Temperatures

Science lessons don’t have to take place solely in a classroom setting, and one of the best ways to get kids excited about the subject is to head to every kid’s favorite spot: the swimming pool. It’s best if you can get to a large pool, though this lesson can be adapted for a kiddie pool. Grab paper and pencil, your bathing suit, appropriate safety gear, sunscreen, towels, a pool thermometer, and a couple pairs of goggles to learn about the Physics of Pool Temperatures. (Don’t be afraid to make adjustments depending on your child’s swimming abilities!)

If possible, first visit the pool in the morning to stick your toes in the water and check the temperature. Have your child record the time, outside temperature, and water temperature on a piece of paper.

Return to the pool in the afternoon when the sun has had some time to shine. Test the water again and record the time and temperature. Next, jump right in! Swim around to different depths and see how the temperature varies. Using your goggles, swim to the deepest section of the pool and check the temperature. Record all the information you gather. If you’re at a public pool and there’s a child’s pool present, compare the differences in temperature between the large and small pools. Discuss thermodynamics and why different volumes and levels of water may differ in temperature, as well as how the sun and time of day affects it.

By using common objects and showing kids the science that is around them in everyday life, you most likely will spark their interest in science. The more fun science activities you conduct with them, the more they will use their natural curiosity to ask questions, make hypotheses, and want to know why things work in the ways that they do. In the process, you may just inspire a love of science in the kids who hate it.

Jamie Strand is a former homeschool kid and unashamed science nerd. He’s a community college professor and proud father of two daughters who wants to inspire a passion for science and math in today’s young people. That goal drove him to start http://scicamps.org/ with help from a good friend. When he isn’t teaching, Jamie can often be found digging for fossils in the backyard with his daughters, exploring the local nature preserve, or binge watching Star Trek reruns.

1 comment:

Angel said...

Nice science activities that can be done with things around our home! I appreciate projects that don't require shopping. Thanks!

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