Building Foundations of Scientific Understandingbfsu
Posted 17 May 2010 - 12:56 PM
Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:00 PM
I combine BFSU with topical studies a la Tanglewood, reading lots of books and doing simple experiments through the Kingfisher Young Discoverers Series.
Posted 17 May 2010 - 02:53 PM
Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:39 AM
I am just now looking into it. I love the concept, but am hesitant because people say you can't just open and go with it. What exactly do you need to do to prep for the lesson? How much time are you talking about?
The time is in studying the lesson, because you have to understand what you are teaching. Dr. Nebel gives you a ton of information (6-8 single-spaced pages per lesson), and you have to wrap your brain around it. And it is not just "this is what you should teach." He tells you what the common misconceptions are, and he uses a Socratic approach to dispelling them. That means that you do not tell the child the right answer, but you guide him to coming to the right answer on his own. For example, we just did a lesson in the Life Science thread about where plants get their energy. A common misconception is that they get it from the ground. Instead of telling the child that this is wrong, you ask them leading questions, such as "If the plant were to get its food from the ground, then what would happen to the ground under the plant? Wouldn't there be holes in the ground wherever there was a plant?" Then you continue the discussion until you have helped the child figure out that plants get their energy from sunlight. IMO, this is the best way to teach anything, but it is teacher-intensive.
The bulk of my planning involves reading the lesson and highlighting the questions to ask and the key points I want to touch on. There are often experiments, but they do not take a lot of time and usually use ordinary household items, though I have occasionally run into items that I don't have on hand, and then I have to go out to buy them or substitute something else. There are usually several optional activities suggested, which do not take a lot of time to prepare, but you have to take the time to read through them and decide if you want to do them. These are things like, "Make a book showing what things are living and what are not." Lastly, if you want to integrate reading into science, there are book lists at the end of each lesson that you will need to get from the library ahead of time.
Most of the lessons have 2-3 parts to them. I stretch these out over 2-3 weeks. I spend 30-60 minutes the first week studying and highlighting the lesson. Then the next week or two there is very little for me to do.