Everyday Everywhere Science
One of the advantages when your home becomes a classroom and laboratory is that life lessons are all around. You can help your kids learn them by showing them how to be better listeners and lookers.
Good listening is key to successful learning and living. It’s also the foundation of good science. Here are a few fun exercises that help students of any age become more effective listeners.
Listening Exercise #1 Home Sounds
Have the kids sit silently to see how many sounds they can hear for a certain period of time (relative to age). Make a list of all the sounds students report. Have the students keep a log of sounds in a notebook, tablet, or computer file.
Listening Exercise #2 Baby Sounds
If you have a baby monitor in your home, kids can practice focused listening, especially if there is a baby at the other end. Home students can become baby scientists as well as help parents as caregivers.
- Count the number of breaths in a minute
- Keep a record of baby’s sleeping and eating habits
- Record cries other baby noises
You don’t have to have the latest, hi-tech monitor with Wi-Fi streaming video. The best baby monitor for this exercise is the old-fashioned, audio-only baby monitor.
Like good listening, learning to be more observant is a skill that will serve your student in every area of his or her life.
Observing Exercise #1 Bug Eye
Present kids with small, interesting objects such as a bug. If you don’t have a bug or would rather not handle one, students may be asked to find an insect of their own –
weather permitting and with guidance on those species to avoid. Ask kids what they see:
- How many details can you see on this bug?
- How many legs?
- What is its body shaped like?
- What colors can you see?
Always supplement home learning with off-sites, or as the Boy Scouts say, Go See It events. Visit a museum of natural history, a bug house at the zoo, or a library to learn more about insects and how scientists study them. To help students develop observing skills take them to places that encourage and reward close observation and study.
Observing Exercise #2 Scene of the Crime
Ask your students to sit in one of the rooms of your house and be quietly observant of the space. Tell them to try to notice everything, take it all in. Give them two or more minutes to be observant of their surroundings, and then have your students leave the room. Take a picture of the room, make twenty-one changes to the room, and then take another (or two).
Tell the students that the criminals or leprechauns snuck into the room and made 21 changes. Ask the students how many changes they can spot. This game can be played by any age and as many times you wish. Students will also have fun taking turns being the changer.
If your students want to play a clever video version of the game, here is one that challenges viewers to spot the 21 changes made in a brief theater scene. How observant are you?
Looking and listening carefully are the foundations of science and thus essential to the training of good scientists. Supplement and deepen close observation and listening with off-site or on-line research and plenty of discussion. Home schooling presents the unique opportunity to turn the home into a laboratory and open up the everyday to novelty and surprise. As your students become more attuned to the world around them, you may find the same happening to you