What better way to work on living math than to apply it to something else your students are working on? Today we are going to talk about how to go about choosing a topic for math in your science and how to implement it once you have something in mind.
First of all, I think it's important to note that science doesn't always come from experiments in a book and experiments don't have to be in recipe form to be good ones. Scientists have to design their own investigations- no one is there to give them the recipe if they are doing their own innovative work. As you lead your students through this process, remind them that scientists have setbacks as well.
So, what is an investigation? It's to observe or study by close examination and systematic inquiry. Start thinking about how you can engage your kids in some discovery without being intimidated by formal processes and planning. So many times I see homeschoolers shy away from science because they often think it has to be formal and all their ducks must be in a row. I want to dispel that myth!
One of the best ways to get started is to follow an interest. Be willing to say yes when your student asks if they can find out more about how something works or if they want to test a prediction they have. Plenty of information to support your search is only a click away and it doesn't cost a thing! Part of being informal is saying yes and going along for the ride and having your kids make their own data collection forms- this helps them to organize information and gives you permission to be spontaneous. Remember, none of this has to be perfect only functional. You'll learn from your mistakes as well.
What if your child isn't really all that inquisitive? That's ok! You can reach out to where their passions lie and try to draw them out that way. It may take kids a while to respond to this if you have always done everything "by the book". Giving them permission, and working through the process together will develop this skill. Be patient! In the meantime, try to work with a topic/subject that they are crazy about and go from there.
Our investigations aren't always an experiment from the start. Sometimes my ideas are sparked by listening to my kids playing (story on this later), sometimes we just need to do some research to answer a burning question. And sometimes I just hand them an experiment book based on a topic they are studying or something they've asked about and see what they can do with it.
Sometimes a whole unit is created based on the interest of a child. Put together ideas that come from what your child is interested in- it fuels their passion and allows you to work in some great science. For instance, after watching Punkin Chunkin last fall, we did lots of work with catapults. Lots of great physics and math come with studying catapults! We do a lot of this so stay tuned for more ideas.
I hope this post gets you thinking about some possibilities in your homeschool. Tomorrow I will talk about qualitative vs quantitative data analysis and how to design a fair test (experiment).
Be sure to visit these brilliant women during our 10 days adventure between November 7th-18th! I love these ladies and we know you will too.
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