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What should logic stage science look like? {Season 9, Episode 114}

What should logic stage science look like? Come listen to (or watch) this episode from the Tips for Homeschool Science Show to hear the answers.

Welcome back to season 9 of the Tips for Homeschool Science podcast where we are sharing both audio and video for a short season on classical education and homeschool science.

In this episode, we'll be discussing logic stage science - your goals, the tools, and how to put it all together!

Key Takeaways

  • The goals of logic stage science are to capitalize on the student's need to know why and continue to feed them with scientific information. 
  • Science fair projects are a great tool for our kids to see the scientific method from start to finish and our logic students really benefit from that experience because it's helping them to think critically and to organize the information. 
  • Look at all the tools, all 7 of them, as options you as a classical educator can use.

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Episode 114 - What should logic stage science look like? Transcript

00:00 - 00:29

What should logic stage science look like? What are your goals and what do you need to do each week? Hi, I'm Paige Hudson, and you're listening to the Tips for Homeschool Science Show, where we're breaking down the lofty ideals of teaching science into building blocks you can use in your homeschool.

(Intro Music)

In our previous episodes, we've talked about the basics of classical education, and we've talked about how the logic stage usually happens

00:29 - 00:52

around the middle school years. We've talked briefly about what classical science should look like and what a strong science program means. But how does that work in the logic stage? How do we put those together, and what are our goals for teaching science to our logic stage students? The logic stage, which is often called the dialectic stage as well, can be a bit cryptic in the way it sounds.

00:52 - 01:24

So let's clear up any confusion as to what we mean by "a logic stage student" because students enter this stage or this phase of their education at different times, and that's okay. Basically, we're talking about a student who has already mastered those basic facts and they've already laid the foundation of scientific knowledge or knowledge in general. They know their basic math facts and things like that, and they're beginning to learn how to apply those. They're starting to ask why about everything these years.

01:24 - 01:46

These students have a strong need to question everything, and trust me, you'll know when you have a logic stage student! They're going to start questioning you - but why? You ask them to do something {and hear} but why, but why? You'll hear why a lot! And you know that when you start hearing that, you've got a logic stage student on your hands.

01:47 - 02:07

So we like to compare the logic stage student to a bucket full of unorganized information. Remember, our great first stage student was an empty bucket that needs to be filled. So now we filled that bucket full of information, and now we need to take it out of the bucket and begin to organize it, begin to store it away in a filing cabinet, so to speak, in their brain

02:07 - 02:31

so they'll know how to access it during the rhetoric stage years. Remember, during these years, our students really have a strong desire to know why things work the way they do. So they've got all this basic unorganized information, and we need to help them organize and categorize it in their brains, so to speak. In order to help them to figure out why things are happening the way they are.

02:31 - 02:54

When we're teaching to this group of students, we're going to be playing to these strengths, like we do in any stage of classical education. We are playing to their strengths and shoring up their weaknesses. We're going to play to their strengths, and we're also going to help them begin to make the connections between the pieces of knowledge that were deposited during the grammar stage years and the new ones that they're getting during the logic stage years.

02:54 - 03:15

We can also use science to work on some basic skills, like outlining, critical thinking, and even reading comprehension at the stage. But again, like in the grammar stage years, we don't want them to get bogged down in learning those skills. We want them to focus on learning the science. We're just enhancing or practicing those skills through their science studies.

03:15 - 03:37

Your goals for science during these years are threefold. One, you want to begin to train the students brain to think analytically about the facts of science Two, we want to familiarize the students with the basics of the scientific method. So we're going to be doing a lot of inquiry based experimental type things during the logic stage years.

03:37 - 03:59

And then, three, we're going to continue to feed them with more information that they can handle. So in a nutshell, your goals for these years are to capitalize on the student's need to know why and continue to feed them with scientific information in the classical science curriculum. The above goals can be fulfilled through four basic components and three optional ones if you want to add those on.

03:59 - 04:21

So the first thing that's going to be kind of the crux, or the critical part, of your week. {The thing} that everything's going to kind of revolve around will be those experiments. The purpose of these experiments during the logic stage years is to give the students an opportunity to interact with science through inquiry-based methods. We're going to ask a question and they're going to answer it.

04:21 - 04:56

This will allow the students to experience science firsthand in real world scenarios, to see science face-to-face, to build their problem-solving skills, and to practice using the basics of the scientific method. These experiments are going to be a little bit more involved than the demonstrations that you did during the grammar stage years. The students will move from this position of watching you demonstrate the hands-on science aspect to really being the driving force through being the one who is doing the experiment or doing the hands-on science.

04:56 - 05:18

So this is a process. It's not going to happen overnight, but slowly we'll be teaching them to begin to take the reins of their own education and this will happen over the whole stage. So during these logic stage years, you're going to be moving from this demonstrator to more of an advisor type-role and then you'll also be asking them to write a little bit more detail in their lab reports.

05:19 - 05:43

It was fun. It's not going to be enough for a conclusion during the last two years. So they'll be growing in their demonstration of the knowledge that they have science and being able to communicate that knowledge. So along with those experiments, you'll have information. You want to feed them with scientific information. And you could do this, again, through reading those visually appealing children's encyclopedias.

05:43 - 06:09

Things that are more on their level, that they're going to be more difficult than what they read from in the grammar stage years. Then you're also going to make sure that they're doing vocabulary - if you didn't do that during the first year, and then you're also going to be doing diagrams or sketches of what they've seen. You're still going to be reading from those encyclopedias or textbook, if you find that they appreciate that material better or absorb information from a textbook better.

06:10 - 06:32

You will definitely, during these years, be discussing that material with them. You're going to ask them questions like, what did you learn about why is this this way? How do we know about this? You know, those types of questions. We don't want to ask just questions that help them to clarify the facts. But we also want to have things that help to demonstrate their understanding of the material. This discussion time

06:32 - 06:55

is going to help them to kind of organize the material in their head. Then we're also going to be doing a vocabulary, so we make sure we're filling those knowledge banks. And then we're going to be drawing the sketches and labeling the sketches. Again, this is just another piece of looking at the information from a different way that will help them to organize it in their brain to be able to access it in later years.

06:56 - 07:17

The third piece we're going to have again is writing. So remember, those three keys to science - we're going to be doing, reading, and writing. During the logic stage years, that writing is going to get a little more involved. We're going to teach them how to process and organize information. So we're not just writing, you know, "male lions have a mane."

07:17 - 07:53

That's not enough at this stage. We need to be more detailed and more organized in the way we're doing that. That starts out with a list of facts that they've learned from what they've read. And then they'll organize that maybe in an outline - a single point outline and then a double point outline. If you want to learn a little bit more about how the classical student progresses through the different stages of writing from their narrations to outlining to a paragraph, I recommend The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease by Susan Wise Bauer, or we all have also done a video about writing in science (Elementary Years and Middle School) - I'll link to that in the show notes.

07:54 - 08:12

And then the fourth thing your student is going to be doing is something that's going to pull all three of those things together. They're going to do, read, and write all together in one big project. And this only needs to be once a year, but your logic stage students really should be doing some kind of science fair project. They're coming up with the question.

08:12 - 08:31

They're going for beginning to end through the scientific method. Typically, I like to recommend that this goes with whatever you're studying so if you're studying biology, you'll do a science for your project that has to do with biology. Also, I'll link to a whole series that we've done on the science fair project through the Tips for High School Science Show.

08:31 - 08:50

And that series breaks the science project down into eight steps and gives you everything you need to do along the way. So the science fair project can seem a little daunting, but during the logic stage years, your kids will really, really benefit from doing a science fair project. So if you can do at least one, I would be so proud of you.

08:50 - 09:12

But if you can do one every year, I will be even more proud of you guys because these science fair projects are really a great tool for our kids to see the scientific method from start to finish. And our logic students really benefit from that experience because it's helping them to think critically and to organize the information that they've learned around a certain project.

09:12 - 09:36

That's my soapbox speech for the science fair project and why you should do one during the logic stage years. Let's talk about three things that you can add that are optional. If you would like to do some more Internet research, you can have your students once week or once month, or once a quarter, do some kind of research project that has to do with whatever area of science you're studying.

09:36 - 09:58

This could be about current events in science. This could be about a scientist in the field you're studying, but basically you want them to do a bit of research, whether that's through virtual tours, YouTube videos, Internet websites, but some kind of a practice looking on the Internet for information, because that's really great skill. It's an important skill for our students to know.

09:58 - 10:16

And then you can also use your library as a resource as well, because that's another skill that's important for our students to know and the logic stage is a great time to introduce those skills. If you want to do some kind of project like that, you can add that during the logic stage years. If you want to add quizzes and tests,

10:16 - 10:43

the logic stage years are also a great time for you to introduce taking quizzes or tests. It's not absolutely necessary because you're working one on one with your students - or one on three or whatever your situation is - but you're working closely enough with your students to see if they are comprehending the material and remembering what they're studying. If you want to add in some quizzes and tests to kind of boost their test-taking skills, the logic stage years are a great time to do that.

10:43 - 11:13

Just make sure that those tests and quizzes are pretty easy, that they match what they're learning. {In other words, we're doing matching vocabulary, we're doing true or false questions, and we're asking questions about important concepts that they've learned - these are things that they've covered multiple times. So we know that they've had multiple opportunities to grasp that and understand that information to be able to take the test we don't want to frustrate our students over taking tests during these years.

11:13 - 11:32

We just want it to be another tool to help them learn how to organize and process information, not something that they get bogged down or feel like they're failures or anything like that. So quizzes are not absolutely necessary. It's just a tool if you want to use it. So the third and final thing that you can add in is the timeline.

11:33 - 11:57

Most likely you'll already be doing a timeline with your history studies and you can just add in some of the dates that are important and discoveries that are important for the particular field science that you're studying. Again, it'll help your students see that there wasn't a lot of scientific discoveries during those Dark or Middle Ages and how much more we've learned about chemistry physics in the modern times.

11:57 - 12:25

It's just another tool, especially for the classical educator, to add. So you're definitely going to be doing experiments. You're definitely going to be reading and gathering information from some source. You're definitely going to be writing and you're going to be doing that science fair project each year. But then if you want to add in some more for your students, if they really like science if you want to practice some other skills, you can do Internet research, you can do quizzes and tests, and you can add in the timeline during the logic stage years.

12:26 - 12:48

That's broad overview of your goals and the different pieces that should be a part of your logic stage plans. But what does it look like each week? Let's talk through a sample week {about the planet Jupiter}. So first you would start out your week doing an experiment on how heat affects the storms on Jupiter's surface - we're looking at what's causing those storms. Then, we're reading about the planet.

12:48 - 13:08

We're discussing with the students what they've learned about Jupiter, if they've made any new connections, that kind of stuff. And then we're having them write an outline or report - wherever they are in their writing skills. Again, we want that writing to be just below what they're learning. We want that writing to be easy for them to do.

13:08 - 13:33

And then we'll have them write down any unfamiliar vocabulary that they've learned in their reading and sketch Jupiter with its major features on that page where they've got the information. Then if you want to add more stuff, you can mark a timeline when Jupiter was discovered and named. You can have them research a little bit more about Jupiter and its history and if we've made recent discoveries surrounding the planet and so on and so forth.

13:34 - 14:00

Then when you've finished learning about the entire solar system, you can give a quiz or a test about what they've learned. So that's, what, a week within a larger unit could look like for a logic stage student. And when you tie all these areas together - when you do an experiment that has to do with the information that they're learning and writing down - when you tie all that together, they reinforce one another.

14:00 - 14:23

The different pieces of information reinforce each other, to create a stronger file of knowledge in the mind of the logic stage students. So not only are we building their base, but we're also helping them organize it within the context of what they're learning. So hope you can see that when we do science this way, it helps our students to begin to think analytically about what they've learned.

14:24 - 14:46

It helps them to become more familiar with the basics of the scientific method. And then it also helps them to build that knowledge bank. Those are the goals we have for the logic stage! And we can do this using experiments, gathering information, writing it down, and using a science fair project. And then we can add in some Internet research, some quizzes and tests, and the timeline.

14:46 - 15:11

That is what we need for science for a logic stage student. Thanks for listening and I hope you have a great week playing with science!

(Exit Music) 

Have you struggled with finding a science curriculum that fits the classical education model you want to use in your homeschool? Rest easy! At Elemental Science, we have easy-to-use, award-winning science plans to help you teach classical science to your students.

15:12 - 15:37

Each of our classical science programs will focus on an area of science all year long, giving you plans for weekly demonstrations or experiments for reading assignments from visually appealing children's encyclopedias from publishers like DK, Usborne, and Kingfisher. Plus, you'll have customized student pages specifically for what you are studying that week. The programs in our classical science series are part of Well-trained Mind’s

15:37 - 15:51

Top Recommendations, are part of Cathy Duffy's Top Picks, and every year homeschoolers say they love our programs! Come see how we can help you teach classical science in your homeschool at

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