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Science Soundtracks #7: Science has to be in a lab {Episode 108}

February 28, 2022 4 min read

 REAL science can be done in lots of places and as homeschoolers we have the freedom to escape the lab to do science where we are at.

For it to really count as science, it has to be done in a lab with real lab equipment. Have you ever heard or thought this science 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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Episode 108 - Science has to be in a lab. {Science Soundtracks #7}

Episode Transcript

For it to be REAL science, it has to be done in a REAL lab with REAL equipment and REAL chemicals. Right?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard or seen the idea that something is REAL science just because it’s done in the right location or with the right equipment.

Let’s be honest, how many of us have access to what constitutes as a REAL lab?

I hang out with science for a living and while I do have many items you would find in a REAL lab, I don’t have it all. Is the idea that for science to be REAL it has to be done in a certain place with certain stuff really helping any of us share the wonders of science with our kiddos?

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:

  • Is the idea that science has to be done in a lab true? (Umm, no. Science does not cease to be science the second you walk out of the laboratory door. Zero points.)
  • Is the idea that science has to be done in a lab helpful?(Well in some cases, this could be helpful. You don’t want to be bombarding atoms or using hydrochloric acid in your kitchen. We’ll give this a 0.25, just because we do want our kids to be aware that some science experiments belong in the lab!)
  • Is the idea that science has to be done in a lab kind? (No, the idea that if you don’t have access to a fully-stocked lab you can’t do science is not kind to any home educator. Zero points for this one.)

Tally up the score and the idea that science has to be done in a lab scores a 0.25 out of 3 points. I know. You guys are shocked that yet another soundtrack has failed the litmus test! By now, you know that at this point we quote Mr. Acuff and his book, Soundtracks, by declaring: “That’s enough of doing it that way, let’s try something else.”

Let’s stop saying that real science can only happen in the lab. Instead, let’s flip that soundtrack to:

There are lots of ways to see science in action.

REAL science can be done in lots of places and as homeschoolers we have the freedom to escape the lab to do science where we are at.

My good friend, Professor Cecil Sassafras, has written the following poem about hands-on science:

In your home, co-op, or at your school.
Even at the kitchen sink is cool.

 

And we talked a bit about this in the silent science episode.

The gist is that there are lots of different ways for us to share the hands-on aspect of science with our kiddos.

  • We can demonstrate science from our kitchen island.
  • We can make science models together as we sit around a table.
  • We can learn about physics in the bathtub.
  • We can explode volcanos in the backyard.
  • We can watch birds from our window in the winter.
  • We can talk a walk to observe rock formations.
  • We can do experiments in the kitchen sink.
  • We can see science in action at our local co-op.

As homeschoolers, we can escape the lab and share science where we are at!

So at the beginning of this episode, we put that old, tired science-only-counts-in-the-lab soundtrack through the litmus test and it failed to make the grade. Let’s try out our new soundtrack to see if it passes the test:

  • Is the idea that there are lots of ways to see science in action true? (Yes, you literally just hear eight different ways. And there are loads more besides those. 1 point added.)
  • Is the idea that there are lots of ways to see science in action helpful? (Yes, it means that we can start sharing science exactly where we are at. We don’t have to wait for a certain, hard to access place. Another point.)
  • Is the idea that there are lots of ways to see science in action kind? (Yes, because we can share science in a way that works for us and plays to our student’s strengths. 1 more point.)

That’s a 3 out of 3 points for the idea that there are lots of ways to see science in action.

Whether you use demonstrations, experiments, nature studies, models, or science kits for hands-on science, you students will learn so much from seeing and playing with the face of science!

So, let’s turn the dial down on the idea that for science to count, it has to be done in the lab and turn the dial up on the belief that hands-on science can be shared in many different ways and in many different places.

REAL science can be done in lots of places and as homeschoolers we have the freedom to escape the lab to do science where we are at.

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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