21 Tips for Hand-on Science
“Today we are going to do an experiment.”
Did your heart skip a beat? Did you catch your breath? Or did your stomach do a flippy-flop after reading that statement?
Experiments have been long maligned and misunderstood. I have heard from many a homeschool mom say:
“I don’t understand why experiments are even necessary. They are too much work and never turn out right, so we just don’t do them.”
My friends, it should not be so! Our students need to encounter science face-to-face. Experiments and other hands-on scientific tests are the tools we have to give our students this experience.
To teach science without the hands-on aspect would make no sense. It would be like a blind man watching a movie – it will sound right, but he really won’t have a complete picture of what is going on.
As many of us prepare to begin the school year, I wanted to highlight twenty-one posts that will help you with hands-on aspect of science. These articles will help you prepare and get ready for a super-fun year packed with learning science!
Want all these articles plus a whole lot more in one easy-to-read book? Check out The Homeschooler's Guide to Experiments!
21 Tips for Hands-on Science
Let’s get rolling…
#1. Use both scientific demonstrations and experiments.
Scientific demonstrations and experiments are two main types of scientific tests used in the educational setting. Many people use these two terms interchangeably, however, there is a difference between these types of scientific tests. Learn the difference along with where and when to use these tests.
#2. Record your experiments.
Wondering how you should record your students’ experiments? Read to find out what a lab report should include at each level and download a free printables for your students to use!
#3. Save time by doing one experiment with multiple ages.
Many homeschoolers have more than one child and teach multiple grades at one time. Good news! It is possible to do one experiment with multiple different ages and have everyone walk away learning something about science.
#4. Know what to do when you don’t have experiment supplies.
Let’s face it we have all had those moments when we open the teacher guide and realize we do not have the supplies for the planned activity! Learn what to do when you find yourself without the necessary supplies for an experiment.
#5. Follow these easy tips for experiment success.
Maximize the potential of your experiment to succeed with these five tips for experiment success!
#6. Know what to do when your experiments fail.
It will happen – your experiment will not go as planned. And when it does you will know the steps to take to rescue the learning experience.
#7. Make your own experiment kit or purchase a pre-made one.
One of the best ways to ensure the success of your experiments is to have all the supplies on hand. Follow these steps to make your own experiment kit at home.
#8. Learn about nature study.
Nature study can awaken the scientific side of the brain in the same way a good book can awaken the imagination. Learn why the style of studying science is so beneficial and what the two key components of nature study are.
#9. Decide where nature study fits into your plan for science education.
There are several options for adding nature study to your plan for science education. It can be the core of your curriculum or the icing on your science cake!
#10. Do lots of impromptu nature study!
In our homeschool, we mainly use impromptu nature study. Read on to learn how this works in our house.
#11. Keep doing nature study, even with middle schoolers.
Even your middle schoolers can benefit from spending some time outdoors learning about nature, which makes nature study a great family activity.
#12. Pause and take 15 minutes at the window.
Make a point to slow down, take 15 minutes, and observe the science that is happening right outside your window.
#13. Observe, Observe, Observe.
In science, observation is key! It is something you should practice over and over again with your students.
#14. Study the scientific method.
In a nutshell, the scientific method trains the brain to examine and observe before making a statement of fact. Read on to understand why as well as give a brief detail of the six steps.
#15. Teach the scientific method to all your students.
Our students need to interact with the scientific method multiple times throughout the years. This tips will help you incorporate the scientific method through the ages.
#16. Teach your students about the different types of experiment variables.
There are three main variables at play in experiments – independent, dependent, and controlled. Teaching your students to identify these three will really help them with tip #17.
#17. Do a science fair project.
The thought of doing a science fair project can be very overwhelming, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Read on to see why you should do a science fair project.
#18. Break the science fair project into eight steps.
I like to break the science fair project into eight steps to make it a bit easier for both teachers and students. Here is a brief overview of each:
#19. Learn how to write an abstract.
Writing about what you did during a prolonged experiment or project is a skill that needs to be practiced. The science fair project abstract is a great way to work on that skill.
#20. Plan your own Homeschool Science Fair.
If you can’t participate in a state-sponsored science fair, plan one of your own with these tips from Marci!
#21. Do at least on dissection.
Dissections are often seen as gross, but there is a benefit for taking a look at the internal anatomy of a creature. You need to do at least one of these, live or virtually, during your student’s career.
Wrapping it Up
I trust that these tips will help you with the hands-on aspect of science. If you still have questions, head on over to Facebook or Google+ to join the conversation! I'll leave you all with a bit of Pinspiration, which is short for Pinnable Inspiration!
- Paige Hudson