Science: The Girl Who Thought There Are Two Earths
I have visited Kindergarten classrooms and sometimes I get to play with the kids. I like to get to sit on the floor with the kids. One teacher was reading from a kid’s book that was all about the earth. There was one student who seemed particularly well engaged, so I asked her what she was learning. She made big eyes and said, “I am learning about the earth that is round”. I thought, what an odd way to phrase it. I thought about it later. She didn’t say she learned that the earth on which she was presently standing was round, she learned there was something out there that was round called “the earth”. Perhaps she thought there were two earths: one on which she stood, and one that was the topic in school.
It can be amazing how little people remember their Science education. Of all the subjects, Science is the one that many people never integrate into common sense. And that’s too bad. I’ve embarrassed too many friends by asking them how long it takes the earth to go around the sun. I can’t think of a more basic science question. Half don't know. Turns out that if you ask kids in school, nearly all have the answer: the earth orbits the sun and it takes a year because that’s how we get our year. But they forget because the sun and the earth in that story are just answers they give in school. Perhaps they haven't really believed it.
Homeschoolers have a distinct advantage because they have many more opportunities to try out what they are learning in daily life. We always say this about preaching at church; that, it’s no good if you don’t “apply it”. So, my charge to all of you who are schooling at home, be sure to look for ways to apply what you know. Try asking “so what?”. The earth is round… so what? It means a 2-meter-high sailboat will vanish over the horizon in about 10Km. Unless of course, you’re swimming in the ocean, in which case it will vanish in 5Km. Keep in mind, “so what” is an open-ended question. All the books in the world couldn’t hold all the answers. The idea is to get one you can support.
Ten Rules for all learning that work particularly well in Science:
- It is the learner who learns, you can’t do it for them. and they have to do it their own way.
- Learning must build on prior knowledge.
- There’s nothing like an aha moment when the learner connects the dots and gets it.
- True learning requires concepts and skills in balance with each other. Too much rote knowledge is easily forgotten; skills alone lack application.
- Learners need to see both the big picture and the details. Some like to start from the details and then see how it fits later. Some like to start from the big picture and zoom in on details. Personally, I like to start from the big picture, zoom in quickly, and then work from the details back out to the big picture and see how it has changed.
- Pace matters. Don’t go too fast, we all have our speed limit. Mine is quite slow for my level of attainment. But I know slow and steady does the job. Lack of diligence over time is a disaster. Diligence over time is what leads to success in true learning. If it helps, it's okay to leave something and come back to it later.
- Motivation is not the motor of learning. Motivation develops from and then contributes to learning. Expect to be proud of your work? You’ll find the motivation. A safe and secure social environment is vital to learning. Quality for relationships is one of the main predictors of learning.
- Learners must learn to know that they know.
- Learners should choose to transfer what they know from one context to another.
- There's no miracle substitute for time and effort.
Dates and Resources
Make hay while the sun shines! The problem is recognizing that the sun is shining. If you are not facing any immediate travel or circumstances likely to affect learning, then the sun is shining. Winter is very sunny so make lots of hay. Soon it will be spring and the children will want to be outside. These next two months are some of the best for learning.
Dates and Links:
February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw
You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.