This year I am offering a new Nurture Learning course called Young Architects.
Previously I have shied away from the Technology part of the NSW syllabus, but last year I trialed this course with my own children, plus doing a few extra excursions with an architect friend of mine. The course and the excursions were a big hit and so I decided to offer the course to homeschooling children in the Sydney area.
It’s a shorter course than I usually offer: just six one-hour classes plus two optional two-hour excursions. The classes will largely be delivered by walking around areas of the Northern Beaches. In this way we can look at the purpose of different buildings and spaces, how purpose informs design, how people interact in spaces, systems in the built environment, how buildings have changed over time and how they might change in the future. We will finish off by doing a site survey in the local area and then the children can build models of their ideas for that site.
Following from the success of the Young Scientists course I am really excited to share this new course with my regular students and see what wonderful ideas they come up with. I hope that some new children come along too.
You can book the course here, or if you have any questions please contact me.
These resources link in with our Young Scientists course, particularly activities and concepts we covered in the second half of the course.
Planning your own experiments or investigations
There’s a free project planner from ‘Upper Grades are Awesome’ on TpT which helps groups of children to plan their science fair project. It’s free to join TpT and although I don’t use it all the time there are often some good downloadables to be found.
The Social Side of Science
The Understanding Science website from the University of Berkeley has a good few pages debunking the myth of the solitary scientist. It is critical that all scientists do not just carry out their experiments but they also communicate with each other at every step of the way.
I really hope that the children who come to my classes go home with an excitement about how wonderful science can be. I also hope that they learn to be skeptical. Have you noticed how each decade has its own health fads that seem ‘too good to be true?’ They probably are. What about medications that are trumpeted to ‘hit pain where it hurts’ and so on. How much of that is marketing and how much is really backed up by science?
The Understanding Science website (again) has a good checklist for children to use to see if a study is really scientific. There are several pages where they apply this checklist to actual investigations like solving DNA’s double helix, investigating CFCs in the atmosphere and and claims of nuclear fusion at room temperature (cold fusion).
Being prepared for science to take a long time
In the UCDavis CAMEOS project, children use the science flowchart I’ve mentioned before (and provided for children in my classes) to map the activities that take part during a scientific investigation. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and see how different scientists mapped their own journeys.
Being prepared to be wrong
This article by the astronomist Bruce Weaver is probably more for parents to read than to use as a resource, but it provides a little insight about how science is not about being ‘right’ and how, in fact, scientists can never prove that their hypothesis is right. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_learn_more_weaver.shtml
I haven’t found a whole lot of material on the internet about how to think and work scientifically. I am grateful for the University of Berkeley ‘Understanding Science’ website and keep going back to it, and I also use the Science Buddies website frequently to look for activities, but there is not much else around.
What resources have you found to help your child understand and be part of the scientific process? I’d love to hear from you.