Do you have to do experiments for science? Yes and no! In this podcast episode, we are going to discuss how it's possible to do science without experiments, as long as you do some kinds of hands-on science activities.
Welcome to season 5 of the Tips for Homeschool Science Show where we are breaking down the lofty ideals of teaching science into building blocks you can use in your homeschool.
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Can you teach science without experiments?
No, and yes.
Clear as muddy water?
Well, let’s dig into this week’s question and filter through the options to clear up the waters!
My immediate answer to the question can you teach science without experiments is no. Usually, this question comes from a fear of doing experiments that don’t work or ones that are cumbersome and a hope that handing your kids a textbook or an encyclopedia can be enough for homeschool science.
And the answer is no, that is not possible. A good plan for science requires that we do some hands-on science activities.
As we have already discussed science is both a content and a context subject. In other words, you need to learn the principles and facts about science, but you also need to do and see science in action.
But the good news is that those hands-on “experiments” don’t have to be difficult or cumbersome, especially during the early years.
Which brings us to…
So right after I answer no, I explain that it is possible to teach science without the traditional idea of experiments.
Hands-on science includes so much more than mixing chemicals!
You can explore your crafty side by making clay or felt models. You can head outside to observe nature. You can learn about science as you collect flowers or other bits of nature. You can play with science at your local science museum. You can see science in action at a bakery. You can learn about science by playing in the ocean or by swinging at the playground.
The possibilities are endless because science literally surrounds us every day! And as you get more comfortable with hands-on science, you can add in simple experiments – like mixing baking soda and vinegar or trying to freeze saltwater.
Hands-on science doesn’t have to be cumbersome or difficult, it just needs to give our kiddos an opportunity to see science in action.
In short, it is possible to teach science without doing experiments, but it is not possible to teach science without some kind of hands-on exploration.
Believe me, I understand that not everyone enjoys science as much as I do. But we need to present the hands-on aspect of science in some way to our students. And I trust that now you have a better idea of how you can do that in your homeschool. Here are a few articles to help you with experiments:
Next week, we are going to chat about narrations for science. Until then, I hope you have a great week playing with science!
We have done a few Zoom sessions over the past month and we thought you all might have the same questions the attendees did. Click "Read More" to listen to the Q & A sections from those calls.
This past month I shared a Zoom session with a charter school that I thought you all would enjoy listening in on. It's all about how to teach science at home - click "Read More" to start listening.
Is there a way to skip an experiment, but still have your students learn something? Yes! Click "Read More" to find out how to do it.