Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Changing Science Teachings~ for your Right Brained Learners~


Changing Science Teachings~

“Home schooling is too important a task to rely on an inefficient method that “teaches” information to your children, just to have them forget everything they learned in a couple of weeks. If hands-on learning helps information stick in children’s long-term memories, mothers need to incorporate more hands-on strategies in their day-to-day teaching. Most left-brained moms, however, want to stay step-by-step with the traditional scope and sequence and traditional teaching methods. They often feel uncomfortable with hands-on, non-traditional teaching, yet they know their children are not retaining their textbook studies. Many children are crying out for a new and fun way to learn.” ~ Wade Hulcy ~ meet Wade Hulcy
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We are changing how we teach science instead of allowing a particular program or a curriculum dictate to us how my “learners at home” are “supposed” to learn their science and we are having a ton of fun doing it~ :)

We adapt the curricula, books and resources to our learners here at home. We might turn things upside down or find creative ways to use a science text or encyclopedia, biography of a scientist or workbook page.

Some might recall how we were using Apologia General Science for my 13yo. (I dont normally go by grades, although ask my son and he will tell you 7th, lol ) anyway, he started to REALLY dislike this program.
It is very “textbooky” even though Simply CM recommends this as a Living Book program~ I don't see this when it comes to this program as much, however, there was no denying just how great this program is for the middle school learner. My Right Brained learners need to be directed in their learning just a big different and I have found some really fun ways to do just that~ here are some ideas I wanted to share with you.

First off, I have had my youngest son now 10 ½ ask me if he could also accompany my 13 yo while working on his Middle School Science. I had been planning on having them both work on the same science topic so this was very welcomed and I agreed to allow him to sit with us while listening to the audio CD for the Apologia General Science. We were working on the first Module which was entitled “ A Brief History of Science”.

The 13 yo is working the program using a Lapbook by Knowledge Box Central and after each portion will answer the “On Your Own Question” on notebook pages provided in the lapbook.
I quickly created this morning a notebooking page for two scientists that my youngest found of particular interest ( I am not too worried about starting over from the beginning since this will be a more broader approach to science history and will adapt more to his age and ability, he will be doing this program in far greater depth once he is a bit older, so for now it will be more delight directed) Isaac Newton and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. These tied in nicely since we are also working on NOEO Science – Biology and studying the Microscope.
Here is a link to the notebooking page
for Newton and van Leeuwenhoek and the microscope page (scroll down to science pages)
(I couldn’t find one I liked so I quickly made my own to use).

We finished up listening to the first module this morning and it was then time to prepare for studying for the “test”. Hmm, well I am not big on tests (I agree with assessments and diagnostic testing) so I found a fun way for him to “review the information” and see just what he has learned thus far.

We (all three of us) are putting together a “brief history of science timeline” we are using poster board and will create the timeline with all the bits of information for each scientist from the module. We will add dates and a snippet of information or drawing if they would like. Sometimes we make them folded so they are 2 dimensional sometimes not, sometimes they like to draw a picture or make a symbol to remind them of something about the person, whichever they choose it will be a great review of the time periods and contributors that were outlined in the chapter.

We plan to add to the timeline at any time with any particular information the boys would like. They find timelines very helpful and I think, when dealing with so much information having it in a logical, sequential order really helps to make much more sense of things during historical time periods. We find it answers many questions and can add even more insight to a particular topic.

Another thing my older child is doing is instead of writing out the answers and using note cards like the text recommended, we are making a HUGE poster. Taking each piece of information outlined in the study guide and creating fun organizers or cartoons or 2dimensional folds on the poster so that all the information will be there visually right in front of him~ I explained he could get as creative as he would like~ He loved the idea and got right to work.

Changing the way the science was presented, how the activities that were recommended had to be done and allowing the old saying “the more the merrier” turned what I thought was going to be one more program set to the side into a GREAT program for teaching and learning science on different levels.

I also think seeing the interest and intrigue the 10 yo had shown while listening to the audio brought perhaps a new insight for the older child and he was able to orally go back and “recap” briefly to him what had been read thus far, a really great way for me to listen to his thought processes and understanding of the information.

I will be writing more and more about a few more (some may call) bold steps I have taken to bring more fun with our learning science at home~ but just wanted to share these ideas.
I find it can be really empowering to take a program and twist it around to suit the needs and abilities of the child/learner. Every child and every learner is different -why do we sometimes try so hard to teach them all the same? We should embrace their differences and bend our books more ( or if your like me cut the bindings and drill three holes in them) to meet "our" needs rather than meeting the expectations of textbook writers and publishers. :)

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