Are you struggling with teaching science? Hands-on science through nature study can revolutionize the way you approach science. There are many aspects of science you can cover by observing the world around you.
Life cycles can be studied through observation. A child who witnesses a monarch butterfly emerging from a chrysalis will know much more about the process than one who reads about it. More importantly, the experience will ignite a sense of wonder that textbooks aren’t capable of. Tadpoles and ladybugs are other fascinating life cycles that you can study. After raising ladybugs, you’ll know that the odd-looking larvae in your garden are actually beneficial.
Is a meteor shower coming up? Study meteors, comets, and our solar system. From there, it is natural to include how and by whom the comet that is causing the meteor shower was discovered. You can even add in a fun meteor shower art activity.
Observing the lichen in your area is an educational activity that you can do any time of year. Research what makes up lichen and how it can determine air quality in your area. Rehydrate some of it and spend time observing the microorganisms in it under a microscope.
Learn about geology by studying rocks. Collect rock samples in your area and see if you can discover what type they are. Can you determine the hardness using the Mohs’ scale? Use vinegar to test for effervescence. If you have a strong magnet, you can check the iron content.
Don’t forget to ask questions.
As you go out and observe nature, don’t forget to ask the three important questions, “I notice, I wonder, it reminds me of”. These simple prompts (made popular by John Muir Laws) encourage you “to observe more deeply, ask better questions, and make interesting connections“. This is really what the heart of science is about and there is no place better to learn it than your own backyard.
There’s no end of science that you can discover through hands-on nature study. It may take a little more work, but you will have a child who is engaged and ready to fall in love with learning.