Today I have been thinking about science. Namely, that I need to upload the rest of my plans for the insect study that my dd and I did during the summer. Also, I have been looking through a copy of Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding by Bernard Nebel. This book is what I believe a science education should be…experiential learning.
Science, in my opinion, is all about honing observation skills in the early years. In the middle years I think that children should be able to formulate hypotheses, record and analyze data, and offer up conclusions to their experiments. Finally, I believe that high schoolers should be able to walk through the entire scientific method by themselves. They should be able to formulate a question, gather enough background information to offer a series of investigations, formulate a hypothesis for each step, record results, analyze data, give conclusions, and then point out where they would take their investiongations further.
While looking through BFSU I can see why it is tantalizing, yet overwhelming at the same time. There are a ton of great ideas, but there is very little handholding through the process. The implementation is left entirely to the teacher. Even the structure of the books is a little confusing since there are different tracks (eg. life science, earth and space science) that can be done in parallel at some times and then there are some topics that should be covered before others.
I think that some of the material is quite easy…enough so that a preK student could do some of it. For example, the first day of magnets (section A-5A) has the child examining what attracts a magnet. Then the material gets harder when explaining magnetic fields.
After looking at a few of these sections, I think that I am going to organize some units for my dd with, what I consider to be, the level 1 information. I think that we would both enjoy a bit of a break from animal studies and these topics will be easy to cover during the winter time.