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I hope this isn't inappropriate, but I want to start this discussion by quoting something someone called Targhee said in another thread. I hope she/he doesn't mind!

 

This is one of the main reasons I sometimes part ways with WTM - the recommendations for science are just ridiculous when you look at it from an ed psych standpoint. They shouldn't be studying chemistry, physics, earth science, and biology in grammar school... sorry I could go on and on with this one, but my point is that students won't "get" what is important to get with these subjects until later (I'm sure they'll learn something, but not what is needed). There are other aspects of scientific learning that can go on in grammar school which will better help them truly understand chem/phys/bio/earth sci later on.

 

 

I am hoping someone may be able to explain some of this to me--specifically

 

1. What is it that is important to get? (It's an honest question. I had a lousy education.)

2. Why won't (grammar stage) students "get it?"

3. Why will they "get it" later, (and when is "later?") and

4. What should kids be doing now to lay the proper framework? What is the proper framework?)

 

If you can't address the above specifically (and perhaps no one but Targhee can) then could those of you in the know please tell me either the rationale behind the claim or where I might look to find it?

 

I'd appreciate whatever insight or contribution you may have very much, thanks.

Edited by Alana in Canada
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Guest Alte Veste Academy
I hope this isn't inappropriate, but I want to start this discussion by quoting something someone called Targhee said in another thread.

 

Hmmm. Odd thoughts in that quote. Do you have the link to the thread so we can see the context in which the statements were made?

 

I am hoping someone may be able to explain some of this to me--specifically

 

1. What is it that is important to get? (It's an honest question. I had a lousy education.)

 

I imagine that what Targhee thinks kids should get and what I want my kids to get are two different things, given the quote above. Again, I need context but it seems like what's being said is that conceptually, grammar stage children could not possibly comprehend the complex workings of science. However, I think the idea that they won't get any benefit is not accurate. Kids need foundational knowledge, building blocks for understanding. Beyond that, kids are natural scientists. DS6 asked me the other day why one of the prongs on his lamp's plug had a hole on it. :001_huh: Um, I dunno. I guess it's there for a reason though.

 

I personally believe it's important for kids to get a chance to continue in their belief that the world is a fascinating place, alive with the chance of discovery at every turn.

 

2. Why won't (grammar stage) students "get it?"

 

If you believe the idea of the three stages of learning, I guess the assumption would be that grammar students wouldn't get how things really work, the true, complex processes. The assumption in the quote, however, seems to be that there's no use studying any science because they won't get the higher level science and that's bizarre to me. That would be like saying that because a child can't write like Shakespeare in the first grade, why bother with WWE.

 

3. Why will they "get it" later, (and when is "later?") and

 

See above. :001_smile:

 

4. What should kids be doing now to lay the proper framework? What is the proper framework?)

 

Getting the building blocks of knowledge. More importantly, however, I think they should be encouraged in scientific thinking. Asking questions. Trying to find answers. Talking about science. Trying to figure things out. Being fascinated and reading up. Children are natural scientists. They're born trying to figure out the world.

 

I really don't understand the quote at all. I really wouldn't read too much into it though. Truly, I would love to see the context and an explanation of her thoughts.

 

ETA: I just read the quote again and this really caught my eye and struck me as ridiculous. "I'm sure they'll learn something, but not what is needed." Too odd. They're learning foundational knowledge and, if science is being done with joy and respect for a child's natural curiosity about the world, they're learning to keep asking questions and to take interest. What's more important than that as a scientific endeavor, I beg of you?

Edited by Alte Veste Academy
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Thanks for your response.

 

if science is being done with joy and respect for a child's natural curiosity about the world, they're learning to keep asking questions and to take interest. What's more important than that as a scientific endeavor, I beg of you?

Indeed. Nonetheless, there must be something in mind, but what I don't know.

 

In the interests of fairness to Targhee, please let me apologise and say I won't ever quote someone out of context like this again!

 

Here is the context of the comment:

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=89160

 

I wish I could delete the thread and start over!

 

If I could, here's how I would phrase the question:

 

Is there a school of thought based on the stages of brain development wherein it could be argued that studying the "hard" sciences such as chemistry, physics and biology would be inappropriate? Would looking in the direction of the "delayed academics" camp be a start?

 

If so, who advocates it and why? How can I find out more about it?

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First off, I think that any parent has the right to do whatever science they deem proper for their children, so I have no problem with someone disagreeing with WTM science.

 

However, I love the science plan layed out in WTM. I think, more than anything, that whether a young student would 'get it' in these areas depends entirely on which books you're reading. Chemistry, for example, is thought to be a very advanced study, but throw a couple of things together in a bowl and bake it in the oven--whalla! Chemistry. The amazing qualities of peroxide to suck out stains in a t-shirt is a great Chemistry experiment. I have an excellent book that I read to my children about levers and pulleys, but do they know which of the sciences this fits into? Probably not.

 

I think if I had any complaint about the WTM science plan, it would be that they don't experience the simpler concepts of the higher sciences soon enough. But, I'm patient--sometimes:D.

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And, they will NOT understand the implications of history in 1st grade either, but we certainly lay a foundation. I don't think the idea is that in the first rotation kids understand all there is to know about physics, but that they enjoy rolling things down ramps and timing them and comparing, or dropping different weight objects from high places and predict what will happen, or investigating what happens when you mix baking soda and vingegar. It is laying the foundation for future studies.

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I wish I could delete the thread and start over!

 

If I could, here's how I would phrase the question:

 

Is there a school of thought based on the stages of brain development wherein it could be argued that studying the "hard" sciences such as chemistry, physics and biology would be inappropriate? Would looking in the direction of the "delayed academics" camp be a start?

 

If so, who advocates it and why? How can I find out more about it?

 

I could look in the dregs of my hope chest for my old Social Work theory books...but I just can't bring myself to do it. However, I did remember Targhee discussing science earlier this year and found this...

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36579

 

It explains her problems with WTM science a lot better, I think. It put the quote above in better context than even the LCC thread did. Not altogether a negative outlook at all. I may have been a bit harsh. I still disagree with the notion that they won't get anything of importance but it seems she believes, as I do, that process matters even more than content. :001_smile:

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And, they will NOT understand the implications of history in 1st grade either, but we certainly lay a foundation. I don't think the idea is that in the first rotation kids understand all there is to know about physics, but that they enjoy rolling things down ramps and timing them and comparing, or dropping different weight objects from high places and predict what will happen, or investigating what happens when you mix baking soda and vingegar. It is laying the foundation for future studies.

 

:iagree: Plus, it's fun. Really, I think that what some people see as the core subjects can become drudgery without putting them into a realistic context. Math becomes fun when it's part of science. Reading becomes fun when it's part of history. Writing becomes fun when you're telling about an experience you had in nature study. Of course math, reading and writing can be fun on their own but expanding topics certainly makes it even more enjoyable. Learning is all interrelated at our house and I hope it remains so.

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History is an interesting example, actually, because what we're doing and what we may never progress beyond doing is learning the content of history, ie, what happened when.

 

But why? Why did that happen then, well, that's a higher order of thinking and one that may or may not go very deep. But even so, one must begin somewhere and honestly if this is as far as we ever go, I'll be happy. (Well, sort of. I do want to touch upon how world views inform our understanding of "why" things happened as we say they did.) (Please excuse me, it is much too late to be trying to formulate thoughts like this.)

 

And then, then, there are the discussions of the best "why's." It must involve a reevaluation of the content, of course, and is not a levelof history anyone may get to except History, Classics and Philosophy grads. (Oh, and possibly sociology.) And that's really OK.

 

Ditto Science.

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I imagine that what Targhee thinks kids should get and what I want my kids to get are two different things, given the quote above. Again, I need context but it seems like what's being said is that conceptually, grammar stage children could not possibly comprehend the complex workings of science.

Not at all! I am sooooo pro-science (I was a science teacher before becoming a mommy). I am pro-science in the early years! I am NOT for courses in chemistry, physics, earth science, and biology in a four-year repeating rotation. The meaty, crucial parts of those subjects are not accessible (developmentally) to the younger student.

However, I think the idea that they won't get any benefit is not accurate.

 

It's also not what I said. I said that the important concepts in these subjects (as specific genre of science) are beyond the cognitive ability of most any 5-11 year old. It takes a certain level of development (which comes to us all as we age) to understand these concepts. For example, my 2-year old asked me today "Where's my muffin?" and I told her "You ate it - it's in your tummy." Her response was to pull up her shirt and look at her tummy to try and find the muffin. I could say the same thing to my 4 year old and he'd have a different understanding, as would an 8 year old, as would a 15 year old. And it isn't just anatomy and physiology, it is the ability to think abstractly, understand conservation (of matter, of 3+4=7 so 7-4=3, etc.) and some other developmental elements.

 

Sure they will glean factual information from a k-3 physics class. But, the emphasis in the early years should not be on content (IMO), but on process. It doesn't matter if you study these 4 sciences on a rotating basis, or if you study only butterflies for a whole year, or if you don't have a set content in your curriculum - developing a scientist (someone who can think scientifically and be scientifically literate in a increasingly scientific world) should be foremost.

 

Kids need foundational knowledge, building blocks for understanding. Beyond that, kids are natural scientists. I personally believe it's important for kids to get a chance to continue in their belief that the world is a fascinating place, alive with the chance of discovery at every turn.

I totally agree that kids need building blocks for understanding, and they are the wonderful scientists. And it is this innate desire to experiment upon their surrounds and ask questions that will drive successful scientific foundation-laying.

 

If you believe the idea of the three stages of learning, I guess the assumption would be that grammar students wouldn't get how things really work, the true, complex processes. The assumption in the quote, however, seems to be that there's no use studying any science because they won't get the higher level science and that's bizarre to me. That would be like saying that because a child can't write like Shakespeare in the first grade, why bother with WWE.

Sorry if my ideas on science learning were unclear in the quote. I didn't expand on my ideas in the thread this quote was taken from because that wasn't the topic of the thread. If you want, here is a thread that has more of what I am talking about http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36579

To go back to your example, though, we don't teach a course on Shakespeare to 1st graders. In the same way, I don't think we should be teaching a course on physics to 1st graders (of course exposure to Shakespeare is good, just as exposure to the physical world around you is good). You wouldn't just keep reading Shakespear over and over to a student and expect that in 12 years they'd write like him. But even that isn't a fair comparison - science is not literature, and it's not history. Science isn't just a body of knowledge, like the canons of western literature and history. Science is both a body of knowledge and a process. I feel like the science recommendations in neoclassical education were merely extrapolations from the history cycle, and geared towards giving kids information only. But to understand science (the body of knowledge) you've got to understand science (the process). I think a curriculum should nurture the scientist first, and introduce science content (knowledge) in context (like answering the question - about the hole in the electrical plug prong).

 

More importantly, however, I think they should be encouraged in scientific thinking. Asking questions. Trying to find answers. Talking about science. Trying to figure things out. Being fascinated and reading up. Children are natural scientists. They're born trying to figure out the world.

This sounds very similar to what I said above.

 

I really don't understand the quote at all. I really wouldn't read too much into it though. Truly, I would love to see the context and an explanation of her thoughts.

It was a digression when I was addressing another topic. If you want to understand what I am trying to say - though I admit I can't eloquently articulate all my thoughts - look at the thread I linked above.
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If I could, here's how I would phrase the question:

 

Is there a school of thought based on the stages of brain development wherein it could be argued that studying the "hard" sciences such as chemistry, physics and biology would be inappropriate? Would looking in the direction of the "delayed academics" camp be a start?

 

If so, who advocates it and why? How can I find out more about it?

 

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding is a great book. It's the closest thing I've found so far as to what I am looking for. I haven't meant to offend... I get a little excited about science :D After teaching science I could see a real difference between kids who were smart (who knew lots of things - information) and kids who were smart (who knew how to find answers - process). The second type of smart is ever more important, I think, since the body of scientific knowledge is so large now that no one could know it all. But if we know how to get at it, and understand what we need for the problem at hand, we will be successful.

Edited by Targhee
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Guest Alte Veste Academy
If you want to understand what I am trying to say - though I admit I can't eloquently articulate all my thoughts - look at the thread I linked above.

 

:lol: Hey, to be fair, I linked your old thread first! :D

 

And, may I say, poor Alana! She was trying to delve deeper and didn't mean to start a science controversy, I think. I did ask for context about the quote and ridiculously I responded to the quote before I went in search of more info about where you stand on science. We should have waited until you joined the conversation, certainly. Then your snippet taken out of context would not have been misjudged. I'm very sorry if you felt judged by anything I wrote. That was not my intention.

 

I actually just spent some time rereading the thread we both posted, and then your thread on Nebel's BFSU. Funnily enough, I'm your biggest fan! :lol: My background is in Social Work (so I get the child development aspect big time) but my heart is in science. I actually put myself through college working at a science museum and that was where I fell in love with inquiry science.

 

Here, let's make peace over my favorite book. :001_smile:

 

Nurturing Inquiry by Charles Pearce

http://www.amazon.com/Nurturing-Inquiry-Science-Elementary-Classroom/dp/0325001359/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237957105&sr=8-1

 

Then there's this one...

 

Science Notebooks: Writing About Inquiry

http://www.amazon.com/Science-Notebooks-Writing-About-Inquiry/dp/0325005680/ref=pd_sim_b_3

 

and, finally, to pull it all together...

Scaffolding Science Inquiry Through Lesson Design

http://www.amazon.com/Scaffolding-Science-Inquiry-Through-Lesson/dp/0325011540/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237957191&sr=1-1

 

Come on, we're like minds. :001_smile:

 

The only thing I'll add to the mix is that, to be fair, I don't think WTM advocates teaching high science, just a dabble of chem, physics, etc., you know? An inroduction, with no expectation of completely understanding all of the concepts that require higher order thinking skills. I completely agree that it's weak on scientific method and inquiry but, after all, the model she's using does emphasize the accumulation of knowledge at the grammar stage.

 

I'm truly sorry for commenting on your quote without more knowledge. I actually think we're probably more alike in our thinking than different.

Edited by Alte Veste Academy
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I just had to add that we do tons of science in our house!!! Rolling balls down ramps, blowing things up, dropping stuff, watching critters, using a key to ID plants or animals, collecting rocks (we have way too many of these), etc. I love it - the kids love it. I try to steer them towards the scientific process when they ask questions - give them information which couldn't easily be discovered on their own, if it is necessary for understanding - but I'm trying to foster in them the ability to experiment to solve problems and answer questions. Obviously, this isn't a good idea of for things like the electrical plug. I try to direct our science and nature study to things they can experience with their senses and easily experiment on themselves (develop their own questions to test).

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Here, let's make peace over my favorite book. :001_smile:

 

Nurturing Inquiry by Charles Pearce

http://www.amazon.com/Nurturing-Inquiry-Science-Elementary-Classroom/dp/0325001359/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237957105&sr=8-1

 

Then there's this one...

 

Science Notebooks: Writing About Inquiry

http://www.amazon.com/Science-Notebooks-Writing-About-Inquiry/dp/0325005680/ref=pd_sim_b_3

 

and, finally, to pull it all together...

Scaffolding Science Inquiry Through Lesson Design

http://www.amazon.com/Scaffolding-Science-Inquiry-Through-Lesson/dp/0325011540/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237957191&sr=1-1

 

Come on, we're like minds. :001_smile:

Excellent proposition - and thanks for the book references!

 

The only thing I'll add to the mix is that, to be fai, I don't think WTM advocates teaching high science, just a dabble of chem, physics, etc., you know? A smattering, with no expectation of understanding. I completely agree that it's weak on scientific method and inquiry but, after all, the model she's using does emphasize the accumulation of knowledge at the grammar stage.

 

Yes, but why say to study these four big sciences in sequence/cycle? That's what I don't get - it seems to me she just carried over the history model. And it isn't necessarily WTM, but the curricula I've looked over that seem to be heavy on information and "wow factor" experiments and short on inquiry skills.

 

Thanks again for the references. BTW, I enjoy a good discussion. No hard feelings. :001_smile:

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Guest Alte Veste Academy
Excellent proposition - and thanks for the book references!

 

You're welcome. I would be stunned if you didn't love Nurturing Inquiry. You should snap up that $2.50 copy and get back to me! I've been dying to discuss the book with someone! :D

 

Yes, but why say to study these four big sciences in sequence/cycle? That's what I don't get - it seems to me she just carried over the history model. And it isn't necessarily WTM, but the curricula I've looked over that seem to be heavy on information and "wow factor" experiments and short on inquiry skills.

 

I agree. The science cycles seem a bit arbitrary to me too. I actually lean toward a CM style anyway but I part ways with CM and WTM when it comes to science. Inquiry science is my model and, as you said in the other thread, I'm finding that I have to increase my knowledge base in order to do it justice.

 

You're right about the info/demonstration model of most grammar level science programs. That's what you'll find anywhere though, even in schools (here, at least). It really takes a great teacher and enough time to really let kids do science (instead of seemingly constant preparation for testing of the three Rs) to make inquiry work. Pity. I've read a ridiculous number of books on inquiry science at this point and every time I read, I think that in order for science to be taught properly on the elementary level, it really should be taught by a science teacher just as music is taught by a music teacher. It's a specialty and, although some elementary generalists probably do it well, most don't have enough time to teach inquiry skills.

 

OK, I have to parent tomorrow so I should probably hit the hay! :001_smile:

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HA! Too true :lol: AND I finally read your siggie - I am also an army wife, with a 6, 4, and 2 year old! :lol:

 

:lol: Too funny! Too bad you're not here and we could have an Inquiry mini co-op.

 

Now that I think of it, it was you who posted asking about schoolrooms, right? I soooooo wanted to show pictures of mine but it won't be completed until DS2 turns into DS3 in May. Then my boys are going to share a room (they're super excited about this, thank goodness) and I'm going to have a schoolroom. I'm actually using the Leksvik stuff from IKEA, and tons of baskets. I was sad to not be able to share. Soon...

 

AND :lol: because I also wanted to share a picture of the science lab DH is going to create for me in the garage for our messy, messy inquiry experiments! But, it won't be finished until my birthday. This cart is the center of the madness...

 

http://www.rd.com/18265/article18265.html

 

Look, a locked area for potions! :D

 

OK, really good night now. :001_smile:

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Shannon and Kristina,

 

I'd love to be guiding my dc in the scientific/inquiring method you two know so much about. For someone like me who isn't scientific, how do I do that? Please recommend a curriculum for me? I have Dr. Nebels book but find it too difficult to 'open and go'. I feel I need a science degree to do this job properly, but that isn't happening . So what do you recommend I do? Thank you!!!

 

Kelly

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Kristina, now you have me buying more books.... !! :w00t:

 

To return the favor here is one that I really like. It's full benefit will only come to those older students who can think analytically and analogously, but using it with younger students trains observation skills, notebooking skills, and developing thinking questions.

 

http://www.the-private-eye.com/index.html

 

By far my best materials have come from a summer course on Inquiry Science in the Middle Grades I was the TA for in college - I keep hoping the professor will publish his inquiry model, but I haven't seen it yet.

 

Your comments about inquiry science needing to be taught by someone with ready knowledge is something I felt before, but I am learning that it's OK to sometimes to say "I don't know." and either find out information alongside your dc or get back to him - perfect way to model inquiry. You do have to have a foundational knowledge of science, and of course it helps if you're a science teacher, but the body of knowledge is so accessible now (internet) that it's the process (that inquiry process) that will help both parent and dc find the answers. I guess what there needs to be is a curriculum for homeschool parents on teaching science. That's kind of what BFSU is, but from talking about it with other people it isn't laid out clearly enough. I've mulled over trying to write something myself, but I've too much of a "mom brain" right now and know I wouldn't do it justice. You're right too about most elementary classroom teachers not having time, resource, or know-how to do inquiry-based science. Pitty.

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Shannon and Kristina,

 

I'd love to be guiding my dc in the scientific/inquiring method you two know so much about. For someone like me who isn't scientific, how do I do that? Please recommend a curriculum for me? I have Dr. Nebels book but find it too difficult to 'open and go'. I feel I need a science degree to do this job properly, but that isn't happening . So what do you recommend I do? Thank you!!!

 

Kelly

 

That's the problem, Kelly. There doesn't seem to be a good curriculum out there that is open and go. Nebels book isn't written very sequentially, and I can't use it in an open and go manner. I was just posting that there needs to be a curriculum for parents - something that explains science process and how to encourage your young scientist, as well as the foundational body of scientific knowledge. All the details can be found out there in books and on the internet, if you understand the basics and the process...

 

I'll try to get a thread on science inquiry going in tomorrow - I'm off to bed now :tongue_smilie: But if I don't, it will be a week before I'm back from our spring trip and I'll do it then. Maybe Kristina can start it??

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This is a very interesting thread! I'll be starting a science program with dd4 in the fall, and one of her friends will be joining us (her mom and I are going to be trading off on a couple subjects). I really want to start things out right! I'll be using REAL science - life science - but now I'm thinking of supplementing that with some ideas from Nebel's book (which is now on my Amazon wish list ;) ), or at least reading through it to help me better understand the objectives of early science study.

 

If you are familiar with REAL science, do you have an idea of what the program is lacking in terms of scientific inquiry? And maybe what I could do to make it better?

 

Looking at the table of contents, it seems that Nebel's book could *almost* be used as a classical curriculum, if you rearranged the order a bit. He does separate lessons out into earth science, physical science, etc. I'll admit, I'm a very structured person myself, so the idea of having a single science subject each year does appeal to me (as does the classical method as a whole). :D Ideally, I would like to follow the four-year cycle, but make sure I'm teaching proper scientific thinking and observation as we go.

 

I'm excited to read more about this topic.

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Guest Alte Veste Academy

OK, DH called right before I drifted off and now I'm wired again...

 

Kristina, now you have me buying more books.... !! :w00t:

 

To return the favor here is one that I really like.

 

http://www.the-private-eye.com/index.html

 

:blushing: I have it too. It's embarrassing how many books on science instruction I have. But I'll take more suggestions if you have them! :tongue_smilie: (I guess I'm really not that embarrassed after all!)

 

Your comments about inquiry science needing to be taught by someone with ready knowledge is something I felt before, but I am learning that it's OK to sometimes to say "I don't know."

 

Oh, yes. Not to toot my own horn but I excel in the saying, "I don't know" department. :lol:

 

When I was speaking of my needing to have a better knowledge base, I was thinking of how I would like to do better in my role of guiding my kids' infant thoughts with good, thought provoking questions. Nurturing Inquiry is very good about discussing the difference between testable questions and look-it-up questions. I can 100% recognize a look-it-up question but I struggle more with guiding the kids down a path of how to figure out their own answers to the testable questions and still get to a meaningful, knowledge-producing answer. (That last part is my personal struggle that I'm going to have to make peace with or let go of.) Scaffolding Inquiry is the book I'm most relying on to draft my own plan for grammar stage science.

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That's the problem, Kelly. There doesn't seem to be a good curriculum out there that is open and go. Nebels book isn't written very sequentially, and I can't use it in an open and go manner. I was just posting that there needs to be a curriculum for parents - something that explains science process and how to encourage your young scientist, as well as the foundational body of scientific knowledge. All the details can be found out there in books and on the internet, if you understand the basics and the process...

 

I'll try to get a thread on science inquiry going in tomorrow - I'm off to bed now :tongue_smilie: But if I don't, it will be a week before I'm back from our spring trip and I'll do it then. Maybe Kristina can start it??

 

Well, I will let you start it tomorrow or on your return, as I don't feel I'm qualified to lead a discussion. I would love to participate in one though. I'm just someone who loves science and has read a ridiculous number of books on teaching it with the inquiry model. You know the subject better than I do and have credentials to back up what you're saying. :001_smile:

 

Kelly, I had the same problem you did with Nebel's. I actually wrote about it in a "Why didn't you use BFSU thread?" some time ago.

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76006&highlight=bfsu

 

There were a lot of things I liked but I basically decided I would be happier creating my own inquiry curriculum. Creating my own would also justify all the expense I've incurred accumulating an entire shelf full of inquiry resources. :D

 

If I were in your situation and didn't want to do something from scratch, I would give R.E.A.L. Science from Pandia Press a try.

 

http://pandiapress.com/index.htm

 

Scroll to the bottom of the page and you can try before you buy on each of the three elementary subjects they have out right now. Physics is supposed to come out in the fall. I personally like the idea of mixing up the subjects, teaching more in the order that Nebel recommends because the disciplines really aren't separate. The sciences do love to mingle! :001_smile: However, if buying all three (soon to be four) now and mixing them up isn't an option, at least this is a good place to start. She has good book recommendations and the curriculum is very activity/lab oriented with a great deal of hands-on.

 

The important thing about inquiry science, however, is the turning upside-down of traditional science teaching methods. So, instead of doing a show of an experiment or demonstration, you would take the same materials and give them over to the kids and see what they do with them. What questions do they ask and what direction do those questions lead them as far as learning concepts? This is where I'm working hard on learning to ask good guiding questions but not directing them. I find it a fine line that requires a lot of practice. This is what the scaffolding book is all about. Then, of course, there is what Targhee was talking about...taking the questions your child poses and working toward a solution to the problem, letting kiddo take the lead. I would say this is the purest form of inquiry but it's very difficult for the planning homeschooler to accept his as a science curriculum in and of itself. (Where's the 'fraidy cat emoticon? ...too tired to look...)

 

OK, now I'm in an exhausted stupor of can't sleep and am probably babbling. I look forward to an inquiry thread...and to be well-rested for it so I can learn and contribute without feeling too ditzy!

 

Also, I'm so sorry Alana for taking over your thread! No one has really answered your question. I know I can't. Despite studying child development fairly thoroughly, I can't remember anything specifically pertaining to science.

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This is a very interesting thread! I'll be starting a science program with dd4 in the fall, and one of her friends will be joining us (her mom and I are going to be trading off on a couple subjects). I really want to start things out right! I'll be using REAL science - life science - but now I'm thinking of supplementing that with some ideas from Nebel's book (which is now on my Amazon wish list ;) ), or at least reading through it to help me better understand the objectives of early science study.

 

If you are familiar with REAL science, do you have an idea of what the program is lacking in terms of scientific inquiry? And maybe what I could do to make it better?

 

 

 

Well, I just recommended REAL science to Kelly and I like it best for inquiry because it's jam packed with hands-on stuff and also possibly the easiest to modify for inquiry. The scaffolding book above is basically an instruction manual for how to take a set of concepts that you must teach (it's written for school teachers and, of course, there are concepts that must be covered according to state education standards) and turn them around so that the kids are given every chance to figure it out for themselves. I will say I bought the scaffolding book after every other inquiry book I have and was miffed that I had kind of already pieced together the concept in my own head. There were actually things that I didn't care so much for in their process of turning the lesson around (like artificial story prompts for learning...I'm fuzzy right now). Honestly, I would most highly recommend reading Nurturing Inquiry if you want to come away with a good understanding of what inquiry science looks like. Nebel's book is also a good read and maybe you'll love it enough to rearrange REAL science and work with both resources. They're both wonderful.

 

I don't think I'm answering your question well though. I think if we do start another inquiry thread, I'll pull some of my books down and really try to explain the process better.

 

Ideally, I would like to follow the four-year cycle, but make sure I'm teaching proper scientific thinking and observation as we go.

 

You know, I don't really think there's anything wrong with this as long as you also honor bunny trails and scientific questions that come up outside the bounds of the science of the year. Everyone has to do what works for their own family.

 

I do so look forward to discussing this more. I'll have to pull my books down and study to figure out how to give better explanations. It's nice to find like minds!

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I think she's right and wrong, both. :-)

 

She is right in that process and concept are more important than content at this age. Wrong that Piaget would in any way support her argument! (Piaget's bankrupt, anyway--interesting ideas, but all wrong. Sayers had an excuse to not know better back then. People today...not so much.)

 

I do think there is a PLACE for content, certainly! I don't think it's the most important thing, and I don't think it would well prepare you for high school science. Whenever a program warns you that there will be a jump from one level to the next, be it arithmetic to algebra or elementary science to something like Apologia's general science, that's a good warning that what came before was poor preparation and perhaps you'd do well to take another choice. If it doesn't work, why keep doing it?

 

Content is important in that it gives you the background to make hypotheses that are meaningful. If you're guessing in the dark--that's not a hypothesis. There are also important parts of our world that we can't do experiments with.

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It only makes sense to me that there needs to be a balance (of sorts) between the two-content/inquiry.

 

I have a question. I like Nebel's "Building Foundations of Scientific Inquiry". However, my daughter is much older than the "K-2" marker (she's 10). Would this still be advantageous for my situation or would it be better to purchase "Nebel's Elementary Education"? I do have a 7yods, but I'd like to make sure I don't short-change my older daughter.

Also, where would "Private-Eye" come into play? Does it offer something that the other two do not?

Geo

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It only makes sense to me that there needs to be a balance (of sorts) between the two-content/inquiry.

 

Yes, this is so true. The more I studied about inquiry and its implementation, the more wonderful I found it to be. However, we've done quite a bit of inquiry science here at home and it's time consuming. Incredibly valuable but very, very time consuming.

 

The thing is that when you're working with the questions that children themselves pose, whether out of the blue or when presented with specific materials for studying a particular concept, you're really working in the way that scientists do (and there's so much more to that, of course). However, I can't conceive of a child (or a 100 year old adult for that matter!) learning everything this way. I mean, really, am I asking my kids to learn everything Galileo, Newton, Archimedes, Einstein, etc. figured out all on their own because I think inquiry is the most valuable way to learn these things? :001_huh: Not gonnna happen!

 

Most science will need be learned by reading books--not just the research, look-it-up stuff but stuff that, yes, if we were using the inquiry model, they could potentially puzzle out on their own through questioning, hypothesizing, experimenting, trial and error... Because of time constraints and the limits of the normal human mind, some stuff (the vast majority?) is going to have to be taught strictly as content. This is where picking really interesting books about science becomes so important to me. If it must be learned from a book, it should be the most interesting book possible.

 

I have a question. I like Nebel's "Building Foundations of Scientific Inquiry". However, my daughter is much older than the "K-2" marker (she's 10). Would this still be advantageous for my situation or would it be better to purchase "Nebel's Elementary Education"? I do have a 7yods, but I'd like to make sure I don't short-change my older daughter.

 

I hope someone who has actually been using the book will answer for you. I have it and have read through it several times, gleaning some good stuff. I think it's worth reading for concepts alone but it isn't cheap. Maybe if you could get it through your library, you could see if it would serve your daughter well.

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The grammar stage WTM recs for chemistry and physics are mostly experiment based. We had a lot of fun going through the experiments and seeing what happens in our world. The earth/sky and biology recs were more content based (though there were some experiments we did), and I was glad my kids acquired some base info. - it prepared ds to go on to the logic stage science, which is more experiment focused in bio. and earth/space, as well as chem. and physics. Also, I found it easier to stay with one science per year for our formal science lessons - the kids are always observing scientific happenings in other science branches in real life. This one-science-per-year assures that this teacher-Mom will make sure it happens - I am not a science-trained person, but I felt that science was important enough that I scheduled it the WTM way because it made sense to me, therefore it got done.

 

SWB has an *excellent* (IMO) CD out called Science in the Classical Curriculum - it goes more in depth into science teaching than the WTM book does. One of the first things she talks about in it is her own weak science education, her perception that there isn't a lot out there for homeschoolers to use for teaching science in the way being described in this thread, and a plea for science-trained homeschooling parents to come up with great materials/programs to use (this CD was recorded a few years ago, so perhaps things have progressed). My impression is that she'd love to see more scientific method/thinking programs out there for homeschoolers to use.

 

The other things she stresses in the CD are that grammar stage is a time for observation - parent does experiments with child watching/helping, and parent talks about what is happening in experiment. Parent reads to child about science topics and helps child narrate. That way, child gets some basic information for later on, as well as getting to observe the forces/materials/life in the world and in space. Logic stage is for moving from observation to experimenting by the student himself, and learning how to use the scientific method (with parents help and constant talking through the process). When I listened to this CD, a lightbulb went on in my head. It wasn't just fact gathering and analyzing writing and writing about concepts, it was also about observing, experimenting, and talking through the process and results - and then talking through what you think about the process and results. And comparing what various science authors have to say and how they say it.

 

One more thing she touched on was about flaws in the scientific method - I'm not sure what that's about, because I couldn't find any of the books she mentioned about that topic and because I don't have a science background. It's something I do want to look into, though. For now, I'm happy to teach my kids the scientific method of thinking so they have it as a tool for later.

 

It was a great CD - a good complement to the WTM science chapters.

 

I bought a book that no one ever seems to mention here, but it was rec'd in WTM - it's called Creepy Crawlies and the Scientific Method. One of the first chapters goes into great depth about how to use the scientific method with kids (though I waited to go to that depth until my son got to 5th grade this year) - and it was easily understandable to this non-science Mom.:D I outlined that chapter last week and now I have a more solid plan on how to continue "doing science" with my logic stage child. With my grammar stage child, I let her observe the experiments, explain them simply to her, answer her questions, read to her, and have her narrate/copy/take dictation of a few sentences.

 

I don't know, I feel that with the WTM science help and the science CD, I've been able to start setting a foundation for further science inquiry down the road. And I've been able to do this by cobbling together science programs each year with the WTM recs. We observe, experiment, talk, read, write, and talk some more. It is becoming a way of thinking here. And my kids sometimes make up their own simple experiments to try things out.

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I'd love to see your list of really interesting science books. I don't mean that as a challenge. :) It's just

that I am always delighted to find new resources...like on this thread, for instance.

 

Geo

 

Well, here's more info on science books. I was actually soliciting opinions a while back.

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86909

 

As far as personal favorites, they're scattered through the house (and muddled in my head) right now. A short list...

 

How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World by Faith McNulty

Oddhopper Opera by Kurt Cyrus

The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay

How to Think Like a Scientist by Stephen Kramer

What Makes Me Me/Can You Feel the Force/It's Elementary (and I just know there's another in the series I'm not remembering... - DK books, DH and DS6 love these

Pond Water Zoo by Peter Loewer

Life in a Bucket of Soil and A World in a Drop of Water by Alvin Silverstein

Greg's Microscope by Millicent Selsam (early reader)

How to Build a Rocket by Hazel Richardson

Creepy Crawlies and the Scientific Method by Sally Kneidel

Insectigations by Cindy Blobaum

Among the Meadow People and others in this series by Clara Dillingham Pierson

Archimedes and the Door of Science and the others in the Living History Library

Switch On, Switch Off by Melvin Berger (DS6 LOVES this book, as he has been asking questions about electricity and how it works for a long time and is finally getting concrete answers. I guess I should buy Snap Circuits for him but it seems really early for that. Now instead of turning off his light at night, he'll yell, "I'm breaking the circuit!" :lol:)

 

I'm excited at the thought of continuing an Inquiry discssion in another thread.

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I found it easier to stay with one science per year for our formal science lessons - the kids are always observing scientific happenings in other science branches in real life.

 

I think I'll churn the one subject per year advice in my head a bit more, especially since it doesn't exclude bunny trails and questions that come up outside of the scheduled science. Doing it this way would certainly create fewer headaches.

 

SWB has an *excellent* (IMO) CD out called Science in the Classical Curriculum - it goes more in depth into science teaching than the WTM book does.

 

It was a great CD - a good complement to the WTM science chapters.

 

Any idea how to get a copy of this now? I would love to buy it.

 

I bought a book that no one ever seems to mention here, but it was rec'd in WTM - it's called Creepy Crawlies and the Scientific Method.

 

How funny! I love this book and just included it in my list above.

 

I don't know, I feel that with the WTM science help and the science CD, I've been able to start setting a foundation for further science inquiry down the road. And I've been able to do this by cobbling together science programs each year with the WTM recs. We observe, experiment, talk, read, write, and talk some more. It is becoming a way of thinking here. And my kids sometimes make up their own simple experiments to try things out.

 

This sounds wonderful! This is my goal too, except with (maybe, now) a combination of the sciences every year instead of sticking with one alone. We'll see... :001_smile:

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Well, I just recommended REAL science to Kelly and I like it best for inquiry because it's jam packed with hands-on stuff and also possibly the easiest to modify for inquiry. The scaffolding book above is basically an instruction manual for how to take a set of concepts that you must teach (it's written for school teachers and, of course, there are concepts that must be covered according to state education standards) and turn them around so that the kids are given every chance to figure it out for themselves. I will say I bought the scaffolding book after every other inquiry book I have and was miffed that I had kind of already pieced together the concept in my own head. There were actually things that I didn't care so much for in their process of turning the lesson around (like artificial story prompts for learning...I'm fuzzy right now). Honestly, I would most highly recommend reading Nurturing Inquiry if you want to come away with a good understanding of what inquiry science looks like. Nebel's book is also a good read and maybe you'll love it enough to rearrange REAL science and work with both resources. They're both wonderful.

 

I'm glad to know that REAL science is a good starting point! I'm going to look into both Nurturing Inquiry and the Scaffolding book as well. So glad I started planning next year's science early - I still have plenty of time to get organized and gather information to build my curriculum. There's a lot I haven't thought about yet. I'm so glad for all of the resources mentioned in this (and other) threads.

 

 

You know, I don't really think there's anything wrong with this as long as you also honor bunny trails and scientific questions that come up outside the bounds of the science of the year. Everyone has to do what works for their own family.

 

This is a very do-able plan for me. Thinking about jumping from subject to subject within science each year makes my brain itch. :D But focusing on one subject per year, with room for investigating inquiries here and there that come up outside of that subject, doesn't sound very intimidating.

 

I feel better equipped already! :001_smile:

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We had a recent discussion about science in which an article was posted by someone - sorry that I don't now recall more specifics. It indicated that other countries start science in about third grade and cover fewer topics in elementary than we try to cover in the U.S. Children are taught more in-depth how to analyze data, use the scientific process, etc. so that they are more ready for upper level science work as they get older. A more advanced math schedule in these schools also may contribute to better understanding when math is incorporated into upper level sciences.

 

I'm not sure why someone would say that younger children cannot understand the topics of science when there's a plethora of books written specifically to younger children covering these various topics. Perhaps they're referring to them not being able to understand the topic at a high school or college level - and for most young kids that's certainly true. But there is also something to be said for introducing the basics of topics so that basic vocabulary and understanding is there when it's time to introduce the chemistry and equations that are predominate in all sciences now at the high school level. A sound grounding in the basics makes adding in the details simpler later on, in my opinion.

 

I think the confusion is one of semantics as there *aren't* any other sciences except biology, earth and space, chem and physics. Those encompass everything. What else is there? I'm not sure what other topics could be taught that do not encompass one or more of these areas of science.

 

So perhaps this poster was under the impression that WTM sought to teach chemistry equation writing in third grade, or the math of physics or laws of physics in fourth grade - and I would certainly agree that this would not be appropriate. But a reading of WTM clearly shows, I think, that the aspects of these sciences that are being covered at the elementary grade levels is such that it provides an introduction and sparks a love of learning and the ability to use the scientific process to conduct experiments, etc. I think one can certainly learn about the concept of atoms and molecules, elements, and do fun kitchen chemistry experiments in third grade. I think one can certainly experiment with various types of electrical circuits, light, sound, simple machines and other such things in fourth grade and get something useful from it.

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Okay, now I see more what you're saying. Yes, the recent link I mentioned talked about non-U.S. schools teaching more the process necessary for scientific thinking, rather than trying to fill kids with tons of different topics of info. Naming things is all well and good, but it only goes so far. Knowing how to find out about how things work is more important in the long run.

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"Is there a school of thought based on the stages of brain development wherein it could be argued that studying the "hard" sciences such as chemistry, physics and biology would be inappropriate? Would looking in the direction of the "delayed academics" camp be a start?"

 

I'll look for the link to the article I mentioned before. I think more countries begin teaching science in third grade and concentrate on fewer subjects, but with more intensity towards kids learning to use the scientific process than we do here in the U.S.

 

There *are* no other sciences than the four basic areas mentioned. If you do nature study, you're doing biology. Botany, microbiology, anatomy and psysiology, classification - I could go on - *all* are part of biology, for instance.... So if you don't study these areas at some level, I'm not sure how you study any form of science at all....

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I'm going to look into both Nurturing Inquiry and the Scaffolding book as well.

 

I want to be sure to point out that these two books are written for school teachers. I have found them incredibly useful but I think some people could be annoyed and feel they're not practical for homeschool. I personally see the concepts as more important than the location so it doesn't bother me at all. I just wanted to be sure anyone looking at these resources knows what they're getting.

 

That said, Nurturing Inquiry was the scientific version of CM books for me. I read it and immediately knew it was exactly how I wanted our school to be. I wish Charles Pearce would write another book to follow up on his first!

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I want to be sure to point out that these two books are written for school teachers. I have found them incredibly useful but I think some people could be annoyed and feel they're not practical for homeschool. I personally see the concepts as more important than the location so it doesn't bother me at all. I just wanted to be sure anyone looking at these resources knows what they're getting.

 

That said, Nurturing Inquiry was the scientific version of CM books for me. I read it and immediately knew it was exactly how I wanted our school to be. I wish Charles Pearce would write another book to follow up on his first!

 

 

Kristina,

 

I'm looking for something to educate me in the scientific process so that I can be Johnny-on-the-spot-SUPER-homeschool-Mum when the opportunity presents itself (which is, oh, everyday!). I've been so busy trying to become a math expert, then a reading specialist and a spelling guru, and now its time for this: Super Inquiring Magistra! So where does this scattered mum start? Would these books be a good step? I'm looking for any excuse to add to our library, so let me know!

 

Kelly

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Kristina,

 

I'm looking for something to educate me in the scientific process so that I can be Johnny-on-the-spot-SUPER-homeschool-Mum when the opportunity presents itself (which is, oh, everyday!). I've been so busy trying to become a math expert, then a reading specialist and a spelling guru, and now its time for this: Super Inquiring Magistra! So where does this scattered mum start? Would these books be a good step? I'm looking for any excuse to add to our library, so let me know!

 

Kelly

 

Oh, Johnny-on-the-spot-SUPER-homeschool-Mum! Excellent! Here is my personal prescription for that in the science department...

 

Nurturing Inquiry (one of my top homeschooling books, period)

Science Notebooks by Brian Campbell and Lori Fulton

 

I'll hold off on a wholehearted recommendation of the scaffolding book for a re-read this weekend. I know there were some points I didn't care for. I have other books I like a great deal that I read before Scaffolding (Beyond the Science Kit eds. Saul & Reardon, Inquire Within by Douglas Llewellyn, Organizing Wonder by Jody Hall, Science Stories by Janice Koch, Outdoor Inquiries, Mixing It Up by NSTA...). Reading these books prior to Scaffolding gave me a sense of how to turn regular science study around to make it more inquiry oriented. Then I remember reading Scaffolding and thinking that it was good but some of the presentation was contrived and I want to avoid that. Rambling now... I'll think on it. Nurturing Inquiry and Science Notebooks are must have for inquiry teaching, in my opinion.

 

For a crash couse in all things primary science, try The Really Useful Science Book by Steve Farrow. It's pricey but it will give you the knowledge base to help guide kiddo's questions more effectively and confidently.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Really-Useful-Science-Book-Framework/dp/0415385938/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238028546&sr=8-1

 

Also, if you go here...

 

http://learningcenter.nsta.org/search.aspx?action=quicksearch&text=picture%20perfect%20science

 

...you can download free parts of two great books called Picture Perfect Science. You can piece together virtually the entire beginning of the books, which is the most important part for learning. You will find out info about the 5E instructional model which is a wonderful tool for inquiry instruction. (You might need to register with the NSTA to get a Learning Center account but it's free.) Come to think of it, these might be available in part on Google Books so I'd check there first, as it would be easier. There is tons more free info on the NSTA site so that's worth it anyway.

 

I'm really going to try to get more of my ducks in a row this weekend so if we have another conversation about inquiry, I'll feel more prepared. Instead, I feel like I'm doing a scattered job of trying to sell inquiry piecemeal instead of the more refined explanation of the process that I'd like to give. I'll work on it. :001_smile:

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[quote name=Alte Veste Academy;

I guess I should buy Snap Circuits for him but it seems really early for that.

 

I don't think it's too early at all! Snap-Circuits are very gentle' date=' IMO. My son started with them when he was 6, with the help of his father. In contrast, I am delaying academics with him because he is just not ready for formal reading or math instruction.For that reason alone I want to do real-life experiences with him...hence my interest in this thread.

 

 

Geo

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  • 4 weeks later...
That said, Nurturing Inquiry was the scientific version of CM books for me. I read it and immediately knew it was exactly how I wanted our school to be. I wish Charles Pearce would write another book to follow up on his first!

 

Thank you so much, Alte Veste Academy. This is exactly what I've been looking for. I'm using Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding with success so far (I like that I can skip around threads based on ds' interests), but lacking a strong scientific mind (I'm learning a lot from Nebel's book), I would like to delve deeper into creating an environment for ds a la Charlotte Mason, but also incorporating modern scientific principles. I'm going to borrow Nurturing Inquiry first, then Science Notebooks from the library!

 

So interesting.

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