Science and Nature

Home education is a huge learning curve for me as well as the boy.

One of the biggest things I took from the last academic year was if we struggle to find time to fit in a subject area than the best approach to help with both our levels of motivation is to study alongside others.

The other major lesson is I find structured groups don’t work for larger numbers or for a big range in ages.  Actually I will clarify that they don’t work the way I need the group to work.  If we are studying something with a group it is probably at the expense of doing it privately (only so much time available).  Therefore I need it to have a logical flow and ideally a plan, be pitched at right level for Sam, he needs to ‘learn’ from it rather than just be there to have fun with friends (not that that isn’t important but times and places) and be a pleasant place.  Kids need to all get on and adults need compatible objectives and expectations.  I use the word compatible because I don’t think two people will ever have the exact same viewpoint.

Anyway on Tuesday we started a fortnightly Science group.  Just a couple of families – 6 children, 5 of them very close in age.

First session went well.  We are looking at matter.  The children will be producing project folders at the end but the aim is to do the reading and consolidating ourselves on non-group weeks and the messy hands on stuff together.

We started with some basic questions, then gave them all some cards to sort.  Any unsure ones were opened up for discussion.

20140910_10 We then looked more closely at solids and tested the hardness of different materials and ordered them.20140910_11 We moved on to look at how you measure density of non-regular shaped solids by making shapes out of a certain weight of plasticine, dropping them in water and seeing how much water was displaced.   My seal on the spout was not watertight so our findings were unreliable but fun was had, particularly with wet, sludgy playdough.

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We finished off with testing melting points.  I learned another valuable lesson – clean the testtubes before you go out.  I have a table top hop incase you are wondering.  I wanted something the children could gather around and see.  Kitchen hob was awkward and can’t really cable up  a bunsen burner in the middle of my dining room so this was my solution ( and a good one it seems).

20140910_16 After science we have set up a nature group opened up to everyone.  Nature walks and play are one of those things that work well across the ages and the more the merrier and no size constraints of venue.  The Alver Valley Country Park is on my door step so we headed there for a wildflower walk.  Nothing too organised just a group of families with spotters guides.  I can recommend this one as sorts by colour and is incredibly clear (if anyone can tell me where I can get the fungi one at a sensible price I would be grateful)

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Here is Sam’s nature diary record (can’t promise the names are all right).

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Despite the relatively nice weather the river was flooded so shoes came off and there was wading.  Ducks were happy enough.20140910_20We also saw a few different types of caterpillar which took me by surprise for the time of year.
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