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Q8: What is the heart of science education? {Season 5, Episode 81}

October 28, 2019 3 min read

What is the core of what makes a lesson a science lesson? How do we know if we are really teaching science? In this episode, we are chatting about the heart of science.

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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Q8 Transcripts

Science is often thought of as a difficult subject to teach, we can make it easier by distilling it down into three key things to do, but can we go even further to the heart of science? What is the core of what makes a lesson a science lesson?

Oftentimes it is assumed that if we don’t hit the textbooks and do experiments – we haven’t taught science. But that’s not true! So today we are going to discuss the heart of science education in order to help you see that science is all around us and you can easily share science without cracking a thick textbook or without pulling out the dreaded chemicals.

Let’s dig into today’s question…

What is the heart of science?

What is the heart of science education? Can we boil it down to just one idea?

As I prepared for season 5, these questions were spinning around in my head, gathering thoughts and ideas. At the same time, a line from The Braver Learner by Julie Bogart joined the mass of thoughts:

“Look for a mind at work.”

These words were cemented in my mind long after reading the book. The questions and ideas rolled around in my head, gathering connections to science and forming the backdrop of the answer of what the heart of science education really is.

The “mind at work” quote forms the basis of the idea that a mind at work is what is important in education. Julie proposes that intelligence looks different in each child and it’s not necessarily shown through book knowledge.

You see, in the field of science, intelligence is measured by how much you know, how well you can compute, how much research experience you have, or by the degree (or degrees) you have attached to your name.

And don’t get me wrong, we want scientists and engineers to be book-smart people. It’s important to know where we have come from in science so that we can build upon that foundation. But it is also equally as important to have “minds at work” – those who think out of the box in order to create and discover the innovations of the future.

What does this mean for us as educators?

It means that teaching science should be about more than just book-smarts and degree-pursuits.

It means that the heart of science education is about...

  • doing,
  • seeing,
  • observing,
  • reasoning,
  • touching,
  • sensing,
  • thinking,
  • connecting,
  • dreaming,
  • building,
  • questioning,
  • organizing,
  • and book learning.

At its heart, science education is about providing opportunities for the mind to work.

Wrapping it up

So, the next time you think that science is too hard to teach or understand because of all those “difficult” concepts, remember that science education is way more than book learning. It’s about a mind at work.

And we can easily provide many different types of opportunities for our students’ minds to work as they explore the principles of science.

I trust that by now you understand a bit more about the heart of science education. Here are a few links to helpful articles about teaching science at home:

In two weeks, we are going to wrap up season 5 with one last episode.  Until then, I hope you have a great week playing with science!

Also in {Podcast} The Tips for Homeschool Science Show

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What does it look like to use living books for elementary science? Come listen to what it looks like when you use a living book as your main source of information.

Living books for science, along with a few recommendations {Season 10, Episode 118}

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Come listen to what to look for in a living book for science, how you can use these books, and a few living book suggestions for you to check out! 

What is a Living Book? (with Leah Boden) {Season 10, Episode 117}

March 06, 2023 22 min read

What is a living book? Listen for this answer and more in episode 117 of the Tips for Homeschool Science Show.

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