Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Science at the Local Science Center

Our local science center offered a science class for homeschoolers last week and there will be another one next month. Nothing amazing really. They actually used materials from a department at the local university which has a lending lab. I've borrowed materials from there before though I hadn't known initially that is what they were using for this program.

I thought it would be fun to take the kids and have some time out. Interestingly, they seemed very concerned with what the kids took away from the time (and insisted on before and after sheets be filled out), but didn't really facilitate much during the lesson that would have changed answers on the sheet. I find that highly amusing and I'm still trying to decide whether or not to engage them on that issue. A fun little diversion I might pursue. On occasion it's fun to pull out the science educator in me. The one with a Masters degree in curriculum and instruction secondary ed with a focus on assessment. Clearly, their assessment is not going to yield the results they appeared to be looking for. I should leave it, but you know...it's going to BUG me if I don't say anything.

Probably the most valuable thing was using the spring scales.

The lab sheets- I wish I had time and energy for consulting with places like this to produce appropriate lab data packets for their kits. Really. I've borrowed them before and noticed that they could use an overhaul.

They gathered data and graphed the results.

After class we visited the museum.
J4 LOVES the water table in the 4 and under area...every soon he will be 5 and we'll be all graduated from this corner. How is that possible???

Our kids LOVE the discovery room which has kits to try out. This one is a magnet box.

I7 tried the fingerprinting.

E11 went with tangrams.

R9 loves to fold paper and found the origami box.
The lesson at the homeschoolers class was on weight and force. I wouldn't say it was new stuff for our kids, but the process was fun and that was great. One thing I really liked about the class time is that it wasn't all about them teaching the kids. It was about the kids discovering by reading the directions and following along (great for the kids...not so great when it comes to assessing what they learned especially given what they were asking. The group wants to find out how effective the class time was and I'm afraid it won't tell them much positive. Just sayin'.). They practiced good skills and E11 liked it because it was for a wide age-range and he was worried it would be too slow for him. The kids all worked at their own pace with only guidance from the volunteers helping out.

Next month is a lesson on density. We'll probably go and in the meantime I'll check out the lending library and see if there's anything else we can just try out at home.

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