Helping Your Child Learn Science - Important Things to Learn
Important Things to Learn
Elementary school children can be introduced gradually to nine basic
scientific concepts--ones that all scientists learn. These concepts are
listed at the end of this handbook. The concepts provide a framework
into which scientific facts can be placed.
We will introduce three of these concepts (in this section) that you
can easily introduce to your children at home or in the community. The
activities described in the next two sections of this book are based on
these concepts, as are many other simple science-related projects.
Scientists like to find patterns and classify natural occurrences. We
can encourage our children to think about objects according to their
size or color--for instance, rocks, hills, mountains, and planets. Or
they can observe leaves or insects and group the ones that are similar.
The natural world changes continually. Some objects change rapidly;
some at a rate too slow to observe. We can encourage our children to
look for changes in things:
- What happens to breakfast cereal when we pour milk on it?
- What happens over time when a plant isn't watered or exposed to
- What changes can be reversed? Once water is turned into ice cubes,
can it be turned back into water? Yes. But if an apple is cut into
slices, can the slices be changed back into the whole apple?
Even very young children know that there are many kinds of objects.
One thing to do is help your child explore and investigate a pond.
Within and around a single pond (depending on the size and location of
the pond), there may be tremendous diversity: insects, birds, fish,
frogs, turtles, other water creatures, and maybe some mammals. Looking
at a pond is a great way to learn about the habits, life cycles, and
feeding patterns of different organisms.
The early years of elementary school are a good time to start teaching
children scientific ethics. We should tell them how important it is to
be accurate about their observations. They need to know it's all right
to make mistakes--we all make mistakes, and we can learn from them. But
explain that important discoveries are made only if we are willing and
able to correct our mistakes.
Help your children understand that we can't always take someone else's
word for something. That's why it's important to find out for
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on to the Activities at Home