Science is too hard. How often have you heard that soundtrack?
For season 8, we are taking these negative soundtracks, or beliefs, and turning the volume dial down. Then, we are turning the dial up on a new soundtrack – one that will help us share science with our kiddos.
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How many times have you heard, or said, that science is too hard to teach at home? It’s one of the most common complaints I hear about homeschool science.
So let’s put this belief, or soundtrack, through the 3-question litmus test. If you remember, I shared Jon Acuff’s soundtrack litmus test back in the introduction to this season. If you haven’t listened to that yet, hit pause to go back and listen to episode 101. It explains a bit about soundtracks and how season 8 came to life, plus it will help this episode make a lot more sense.
That said, let’s put this soundtrack through the litmus test:
It turns out that the idea that science is too hard scores a 0.5 out of 3 points. That, my friends, is a failure of our litmus test. So as Mr. Acuff says in his book, Soundtracks, “That’s enough of doing it that way, let’s try something else.”
What if we stop saying science is too hard and we instead flip that soundtrack to:
Science is simply a matter of providing opportunities for the mind to work.
We talked about this back in episode 81 – I shared that if we were to boil science education down to one concept or one idea, it would be to provide opportunities for a mind to work.
Teaching science is less about book-smarts and degree-pursuits. It’s about setting up an environment or providing opportunities to do, see, observe, reason, touch, sense, think, connect, dream, build, question, organize, and learn from books.
At its heart, science education is about providing opportunities for the mind to work.
How does this play out?
Let’s says we want to teach our kids about chemical reactions. In the traditional approach, we would
If time allowed, we might show a reaction. But honestly, learning about chemical reactions for the first time like this is hard.
We need to flip this script. To teach our kids about chemical reactions in a way that provides an opportunity for their mind to work.
We do that through hands-on activities. For example:
After we show science, we can learn about the chemical reaction by reading about it from an age-appropriate book. And then, the students can write down what they have learned through notebooking, rather than regurgitating meaningless facts.
When we approach science this way – read, do, write – we provide opportunities for the mind to work. We teach science one basic concept at a time, building upon the foundation to create a solid understanding of science.
This doesn’t mean that you have to manufacture every single learning opportunity. You can use a program to help you provide pockets of opportunities for the students’ scientific minds to work each week.
The key is to remember not to approach science with the idea that the concepts are too hard to understand. Instead, find materials that help you teach science by doing, testing, and playing with real-life examples in a way that bring the principles to life and provides the opportunity for our student’s minds to work.
At the beginning, we put that old, tired science-is-too-hard soundtrack through the litmus test and it failed. Let’s try out new soundtrack to see if it passes the test:
That’s a 3 out of 3 points for the idea that science is simply providing opportunities for the mind to work.
So, let’s turn the dial down on the idea that science is too hard and turn the dial up on the belief that science is simply a matter of providing opportunities for the mind to work.
Because when we change the soundtrack we have been listening to about teaching science it changes the way we approach teaching science, which changes the outcome of the success of science education in our home.
Thanks for listening and I hope you have a great week sharing science!
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