If you haven’t had a chance to visit Preschool Powol Packets lately, then you haven’t heard the exciting news about Carla’s Bears & Butterflies Hibernation Activities Ebook that was just released! To celebrate the release of her new Ebook, Bears & Butterflies: 41+ Hibernation Activities!
The Hibernation Ebook
Bears & Butterflies: 41+ Hibernation Activities is a well thought-out resource, with over 100 pages full of activities for any teachers of preschool/lower elementary. Incorporated in the science, there are songs, graphing, phonics, games, and other fun educational activities. My own girls especially enjoyed singing the songs, and going on a nature hunt to graph the food squirrels taking into hibernation.
If science seems a little daunting for you, never fear! I had the chance to interview Carla, who not only has a BS in Biology Composite Teaching, but over 20 years of experience working with young children, including teaching. This week I had the chance to interview Carla about how we can become better teachers of science. Read along to find out more about teaching science!
Interview of Carla regarding the teaching of science:
1. What grade levels did you teach over your 7 years of science teaching experience?
Carla: First of all, I’m so excited to be visiting here and talking about teaching science! Thanks for hosting me!! I taught 8-12 graders and college freshmen the following subjects: Biology, Integrated Physics & Chemistry, Earth Systems, and Integrated Sciences. I’ve also taught elementary school science assemblies, small groups, and judged science fairs.
2. Science is a daunting subject to many parents. What can parents do to make it less-scary to teach?
Carla: First, take a deep breath! A lot of parents I’ve talked to make it more scary than it needs to be–especially for younger children! You can teach your child science–even if you struggled in Biology two decades ago! Keep reading for more tips!
3. How can parents teach the scientific method to their children in an engaging way?
Carla: The scientific method is a way of looking at the world and learning about it. It says, “I can observe my world, ask questions, find answers, and keep exploring.” It is critical to help our young children develop this attitude! It is not so important that they be able to list the steps in the scientific method (that will come later!), but it is important to help them strengthen their observation, analytical, communication, and questioning skills. Parents have a particular advantage because they get to hear every one of their children’s questions. Focusing on a high-interest subject will make the scientific method (and any topic!) more engaging. We started studying hibernation last fall when we noticed a new hole under our hydrangea bush. I asked my children why they thought it was there. They hypothesized. I asked them what they thought would happen if we watered the bush. They hypothesized again. We watered the bush. A toad came out of the hole and sat at the entrance until the water went down. The kids were fascinated! They wanted to know everything about him. We had to go look up more information online. (It’s wonderful if your kids see you needing to look up information too–it reinforces the idea that they can find answers.) After that, they wanted to know everything about any animal that hibernates…and how other animals survive without hibernating! We kept returning to the topic throughout the fall and winter because they would notice (observe!) something outside that tied in to hibernation. They were doing science because they were learning about their world.
So, what can parents do? Here’s a short list:
1- Indulge and encourage your children’s questions!
2- As an example, engage in a scientific attitude yourself.
3- Ask your children lots of questions. If you do a fun kitchen experiment, ask them to predict what will happen before you mix whatever ingredients together. As you mix, ask them to tell you what they see. When you’re done, ask them what happened. Let them draw pictures of the process or results. Ask them what they would like to test next time.
4- Help them strengthen their pre-math and pre-science skills that will allow them to “do” more science as they grow. It is critical that children learn how to measure, count, see patterns, identify changes, and make/interpret graphs and charts. It is NOT critical that they be able to do all this by the time they turn five! Most five-year olds, however, will enjoy polling people, counting objects, and placing simple data on a graph.
4. What can parents do to teach their children that their kids ARE scientists?
Carla: Let them be scientists! Ask them questions and respond thoughtfully. Value their questions. I love to use phrases like, “And what does my 5-year old scientist think about ____?” Or, when they ask me questions, “Well, what do you think?”
5. What environment creates a friendly atmosphere for learning about science?
Carla: An environment where it’s safe to ask questions, answer them, and get “wrong” answers. I wish we could get rid of the idea of “wrong” answers–especially in science. A “wrong” answer is really just a chance to try again. My daughter likes to do everything perfectly. Sometimes when she gets flustered with a less-than-perfect result (even in non-science subjects), I like to tell her stories of people like Edison and Fleming because their “wrong” answers turned out wonderfully.
6. How can a parent tell if their child is “getting it” and understanding what they are learning in science?
Carla: Have them teach it to someone else…another parent, a sibling, a stuffed animal. My daughter enjoys giving “speeches” and seeing them recorded on our camera! You’ll know exactly what they are (and are not) “getting” when you listen to them explain it!
7. What are your favorite *free* online resources for homeschooling parents teaching science? Do you have any sites you suggest for kids to explore?
Carla: There are so, so many resources for parents online! My favorite recommendation is to pick a topic your child is interested in, and then find specific resources for that topic. If, however, you are looking for fun science activities and experiments, Science Kids, Science Bob, National Geographic Kids, Weird Science Kids, and Science Sparks have lots of attention-grabbing, high-interest, fun demonstrations and projects you can use. I also frequently post projects and extensions on my blog at Preschool Powol Packets.
Here are a few links to activities that most 5-year olds can do (there are many others out there too):
-Simple Graphing: http://www.harcourtschool.com/activity/counting_objects/
-Matching Game: http://pbskids.org/jayjay/wrld.match.html#
-Pattern Copy (necklace): http://www.crickweb.co.uk/Early-Years.html#beads
-Hidden Sequence: http://www.tvokids.com/games/polkaroospolkadotshorts
At this point, hopefully you’re feeling a little more comfortable teaching your children about science. Now, get ready to enter some giveaways:
See that picture above? You have the chance to win 6 fossilized shark teeth, averaging half inch-lengths! There are so many ways you can use these in your teaching. I can think of writing and math activities, as well as science experiments in which your kids can use them. The possibilities are endless!
HOW TO WIN: Leave a relevant comment to this post and be entered to win the shark teeth.
*By leaving a relevant comment, you will have an automatic entry into the $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway provided by Carla at Preschool Powol Packets. Be sure to include your email if it isn’t in your public profile, so you can be reached if you win. Carla will be visiting eight blogs throughout the week (Jan. 28-Feb. 8). Each blog tour “stop” will include a freebie or flash giveaway AND a chance to enter a drawing for the Amazon Gift Card! Since there will be eight stops, you will have eight chances to enter. Visit Preschool Powol Packets for a schedule and more details. A winner of the shark teeth will be announced here at No Doubt Learning on February 8th, while the $10 Amazon Gift Card winner will be drawn on Saturday, February 9th and announced by Carla at Preschool Powol Packets.
Be sure to check out the details for purchasing the Ebook, available at Bears & Butterflies: 41+ Hibernation Activities,.
Disclosure: I was provided with a unit at no cost to me by Preschool Powol Packets in order to review the product and give my own personal opinion on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by Preschool Powol Packets or the free access provided.