Science that teaches WHY

  • This topic has 4 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 9 years ago by twas.
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  • 2Corin57
    Participant

    We’ve currently been using Winter Promise Animals science, but I feel disappointed with it in a way. I find it doesn’t teach WHY. Example, today we did an experiment where my son put salt on snow and observed that the salt made the snow melt. But, it never attempted to explain WHY this happens, and to me, that’s the most important part of the lesson!

    Do you have any suggestions on good, early elementary science, that does a good job of teaching the whys? Does 106 Days of Creation teach why? My son is in grade 2, but is extremely science-minded and inquisitive, and he wants to know why things happen.

     

     

     

    Richele Baburina
    Participant

    Hi 2Corin57,

    First, I know absolutely nothing about Winter Promise but I do know something of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and methods.  If your son wants to know “why” then by all means, give him scope but we may also be sure that applying Charlotte’s philosophy and methods, the child is to discover much for himself (even those discoveries made in science long ago) through observation.

    Why does salt cause snow to melt? Actually it lowers the freezing point of the ice. That has to do with the salt not allowing the water to form bonds into a solid, so now we are talking molecules, crystals, entropy and stuff so how far do we take it? You know your child.  “Because” won’t satisfy and that’s great because, as Charlotte says, “Where science does not teach a child to wonder and admire it has perhaps no educative value.”

    There is lots more to observe.  Take a magnifying glass and look at the snowflakes. Crystals! We don’t put salt into our water when we are making spaghetti until the water is already boiling…why is that? We need to add salt to our ice when we make ice-cream. Why? Yum!

    We have two boys, now 10 and 12, both with that insatiable curiosity you mention.  We enjoyed 106 Days when they were younger and we continue to enjoy nature walks, nature notebooks and Anna Botsford Comstock’s “Handbook of Nature Study” along with our studies of the laws of motion, energy, light, astronomy and biology.  We are on our second term of quantum physics (this subject was my son’s idea – I’d never taken a physics course previously) and what is so cool in quantum physics is that my kids enjoy the ideas of quantum physics without having yet had advanced mathematics – much like I enjoy a chocolate croissant without understanding the chemical reactions involved in baking it.

    Be sure, we have always kept a steady supply of all sorts of science books along with the great literature and poetry on our shelves for their free reading.  We checked out science experiments-books galore from the library and often the kids were running their own experiments before breakfast.

    So, what am I saying in this long answer past my bedtime?  Take a closer look at Charlotte’s philosophy and methods in science, especially in her own words, allow lots of hours in the out-of-doors, have lots of living books in science on-hand, and give time outside of formal school to explore interests, and definitely allow your child time to make his own connections.  Oftentimes these connections, such as “why does salt make snow melt” won’t be made until it is fit together with other observations in life and his future studies.

    In hopes that this was a help and not a hindrance.

    Humbly,

    Richele

    Richele Baburina
    Participant

    p.s. Keep the wonder alive 😉

     

    Richele Baburina
    Participant

    Hey, 2Corin57, I’d remembered a book that Charlotte recommended and might be just what you are looking for. It is called “The Sciences” by Edward S. Holden and is available for free online.  It has experiments and guides the child through finding the “why” to questions that include many branches of science.  I won’t link it here so that this doesn’t get caught in the spam trap.

    twas
    Participant

    We are using Science in the Beginning, and we just covered this as part of the unit on water. One lesson specifically covered salt melting water, and I think the why was explained clearly at an elementary age level.

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