Feb 5, 2010

Science

I was homeschooled way back in the Dark Ages when we were scared to go outside in the daytime. When we answered the question: "Where do you go to school, little girl?" with a studied casual reply, "I go to a, um, private school." When people did discover that you were homeschooled, they asked, "But what about socialization?" (oh, wait, they still do, don't they, I guess some things never change) Back in the days when there were two curriculum choices. Both of which were workbooks.
I was raised in a literature-rich home. Books were plentiful and reading was encouraged. I picked up grammar, spelling, and how to express myself, through osmosis more than through direct instruction.
It was not, however, a scientific environment. So when I started teaching my own kids, I was confused by all the discussion over science and nature-journals and how people seemed to think that science could be fun. My only exposure to "science" was in a college lecture and that was hardly fun!
Eventually I discovered that we had been doing "science" all along... and that my kids were rather good at it and enjoyed it tremendously. All that was required of me was to provide a few "tools" to facilitate their learning. They were more than willing and able to take it from there.
So I have made available: magnifying glasses, guides, droppers, rulers, cups to catch bugs in, leaves, nuts, sticks, stones, pencil and paper for recording purposes, etc. for quite some time. But since I have so little background in the "facts" of science, I was on the lookout for something a little more instructive to hand over to them.
Then I discovered ScienceWiz science kits. They sell them at Hobby Lobby, so I was able to see them in person, which was a selling point for me in buying something I knew absolutely nothing about. Not to mention that they were currently on sale. ;)
They come with everything but the most common of household objects. (not weird household objects like: starch, but common household objects like: pennies) But what I really really love about these kits is that I can put the book and the necessary parts in a workbox and the kids do it ALL on their own. (well, except that I did have to blow up the balloon. Oh, and put a stop to the air-hockey game that broke out before they popped the balloon with their pencils, which they were using as hockey-sticks)

The book gives a quick lesson, with pictures and very kid-friendly language. The experiment is explained with easy steps and pictures. The kids read through this part, then start the fun!


First, experience the force of friction on the puck.

Then, blow up the balloon. (or have your mom do it for you)


And see how air reduces the friction so that the puck glides smoothly.



Glides right off the table, in fact!


Until the air is gone.

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