Wednesday, January 12, 2011

S(c)i(e)nce You Asked...

Some of the best teaching moments come when you can combine learning with something your children can touch and experience right then.

The storms that have dropped snow on 49 out of 50 states are a teaching moment that home school, private school, and public school parents alike can take advantage of, and you don't have to make learning an "either/or" with having fun.

"Let's go build a snowman!"

Later, when you're warming up with some hot chocolate: "I wonder why some snow packs more easily than others? Let's look at these Frequently Asked Questions about snow."

"We're about out of marshmallows. Will stores be closed again tomorrow?"

"Let's take a look at the National Weather Service website. Do you know how to read a weather map? Let's figure it out. What does an "advisory" mean? How is that different from a warning? What is lake effect snow? Let's search the NWS glossary to find out!"

When the kids start getting restless again: "Is there enough snow for a snow fort? Now it's time for a snowball fight!"

Pleasantly tired: "I wonder who gets the most snow in the United States? Let's look at some facts from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Why do people in the Southeast get less snow than people in the Midwest? Well, what causes snow? Let's look in our science book and find out."

Later: "Can you catch a snowflake? Look at how detailed it is. Do you know what a man called Wilson Bentley did? He took pictures of more than 2,400 unique snowflakes. That's what the phrase 'no two snowflakes are alike' means. Let's look at his website together. He's called a photomicographer. Isn't that a great word? What does it mean? Let's look it up. Would you like to look at some snowflakes yourself? Let's try." (Here's a webpage from Family Education with suggestions for how to do it.)
See what I mean? Now watch out for that snowball!

What is your favorite way to get your children excited about the wonder of creation?

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