Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts


Fox brought back Cosmos, the show that used to be hosted by Carl Sagan "back in the day."  My family and I love this new version even more than the old one.  It is so visually striking and Neil deGrass Tyson encourages viewers to board the ship of the imagination, just as Sagan did, to embark on fascinating adventures.  I think it is so important to remember that imagination is a key element in science.  Einstein said this was more important than knowledge!  Kids should know that being into science does not mean you can't be creative.

Some people in the media have said they have a problem with the show because they feel it discredits or dishonors their religion. I don't see this at all.  I think Cosmos causes one to marvel even more at their Creator.  The more that is revealed about the Universe the more my faith is solidified, personally.  I believe the deep thinking that is triggered by the show can lead people closer to the truth of their Spirituality.  Very little explored on Cosmos is stated as fact, anyway.  Must is theory and speculation, thus why a ship of imagination is used!

The show is on Fox on Sunday nights and again on Nat Geo on Fridays.  You can even watch full episodes online.   This series holds the interest of both my ten and six year old.  It is not boring at all!  The best thing about it is that it makes my kids think, really think, outside the box!  It also puts them in a state of awe, which is a state we should all be in a lot more often!  It is amazing and wonderful to exist, to be alive, to share this beautiful, perfect planet.  It's nice of Cosmos to remind us.

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Learning About Cells

When we covered cells in our Time 4 Learning Science Unit, I knew I wanted to enhance the lessons.  Science is no fun when you are just reading about it.  Science is meant to be experienced in order to be understood!  When I was a kid, I thought these topics were so boring.  Only once I was older where I could think about how the information affected my world and where I could learn to really play with the data and get creative with it did I develop a love for science!

Here are some things we did and used to enhance the unit on cells:

1) We got a microscope.  We paid nothing for it.  I asked on my local Freecycle Group if anyone had a spare and we got one!  Before we had this stroke of luck though, we also used this Virtual Microscope which was also fantastic in learning how to use the controls and see images!

2) We made cells.  First we did a good ol' diagram.  Then we tried being creative and making cells out of household items.  We used jello for cytoplasm and added various items for vacuoles, ribosomes, etc.  Abs decided to surround the whole thing with chocolate syrup to be the cell membrane.  In the end, it looked like smelly trash and we were pretty disgusted by the project, Ha!  But she did learn all the parts of the cell!


3) Awesome online songs!

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Some Great Nature and Science Website For Kids

Many of A's favorite lessons this year have been the ones about animals and nature.  I sometimes call her Miss Doolittle because of her connection with animals.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were so many free online resources that teach kids about the sciences and cultivate a love of nature.  I used these when they worked with a lesson we were doing and I offer them when we have extra time as a fun treat!

National Wildlife Federation's Ranger Rick Games, photo contests,and more

Printable Habitat Adventure Game

Rainforest Rangers- I think this is one of my favorites.  You create your own virtual rainforest and protect it. You advance through the game by learning more facts about the rainforest.  As you advance you can add more to your rainforest world.

National Park Services Web Rangers- This site has games and lessons for all subjects but I particularly like the ones on animals and nature.  They also link to an area called I Hike Virtual Trails where you can hike national park trails online based on your exercise activity out in the real world.

National Geographic Kids- Tons of pictures, videos, and facts on animals.

Dragon Fly TV on PBS Kids- Great videos! (They have games, too)

Lawrence Hall of Science-  This site has some great activities dealing with plants, insects, and how to clean up an oil spill!

My Botanic Planet- On this site you are in an interactive world that you can explore where you will find online lesson plans and games that teach about plants.

Macomi's Science Page - Cute animations and lessons.

Free PDF Book- Book About Rachel Carson, Environmental Scientist Who Helped Outlaw DDT, with Family Activities and Learning Lessons About the Environment

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Science- What a bummer

Science is not what it used to be.  I don’t remember science ever causing me anxiety when I was a kid.  I don’t remember ever feeling like we were on the verge of an apocalypse.  I also don’t recall feeling any guilt in science class (that’s what CCD was for).  No, science in the 1980’s was a breeze.
Now it seems every science lesson we do somehow goes back to the fact that mankind has destroyed this planet.  Animals and rainforests are disappearing.  Polar ice caps are melting.  Everything is polluted. There will be great floods and lots of death.  If we changed everything right now: stopped driving, used clean energy, cut out the pesticides, and closed factories, even then we could only slow this process down, but we can’t stop it.  We’re doomed.  What a downer!

I get it.  We need to motivate our kids to make the world a better place and all of these things are, sadly, true.  I just feel so bad that kids have to take that on.  I think my biggest worry as a kid was giving a hoot and not polluting or preventing fires for Smoky the Bear.  I was not at all concerned with the destruction of Earth. I didn’t see this coming.

I do remember lying in bed worrying that the USSR would “push the button” and nuke us.  I had faith though.  I would pray and I believed that because I asked, God would make sure everything was okay.  He did.  We never got nuked.

I had guilt about the Garden of Eden and Eve eating that apple.  I felt bad when I broke commandments.  But I never had to look a baby polar bear in the face after learning that my species will probably be responsible for its annihilation.  I never had to learn about all the emissions from the cars heating up the planet, sealing our fate of ultimate destruction, and then five minutes later having to get into that vehicle and pretend that it’s all okay.

Science is just pretty awful these days.  What’s worse is that less kids seem have religion and without any sense of spirituality I wonder how any of them can have any hope?  I have heard friends of my daughter say that they do not believe in God.  I have heard these little girls discuss whether they want to be cremated or eaten by worms when they die.  They don’t seem to suffer any guilt for anything, but they also don’t seem to care about much, other than serving their own immediate self-interests. It makes me sad because I wonder what they would have to hold on to if everything truly did fall apart.  Do they know there is a greater power, an underlying love that cannot be destroyed no matter how hard we try?

If all you believe in is science and this physical reality of ours, life must seem pretty miserable, especially now that the outlook is so grim.  And all the toys and money in the world can’t make it any better.  

I’m not a preachy person.  I don’t think everyone has to have my religion.  I just think kids should have something.  They don’t have to call it God, if that makes people uncomfortable these days, but they should know there is something that is better at all this than we are and that there is a part of us that will always continue and be forgiven no matter how much we screw up.  Also, kids should feel that link to other living things; know the interconnectedness, so they do not repeat the mistakes of their elders.

Maybe it’s just me, but personally, without all that, I don’t think I could face fourth grade science.
Thanks to Time 4 Learning, my DD A and I learned about a beautiful soul today named Rachel Carson. She was a scientist back when there were very few women in the field.  She was an ecologist that absolutely loved nature and all living things.  She led the fight against DDT.  People made fun of her and laughed at her but she was right.  She stuck to her guns even as she was suffering and dying of cancer. She never stopped fighting for her cause and for the planet.

I think she is a wonderful person for kids to look up to.  We need strong and hopeful figures to turn to when we face the doom and gloom.

Borrowed from

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PBS Makes Being Green Fun for Kids!

I have found myself using PBS a lot for science and for some fun ways to teach environmental consciousness.  My daughter was sort of born a hippie (or molded into one early on).  She loves earthy lessons and has always enjoyed taking on tasks like cleaning up parks or saving the pandas!

For science, Dragonfly TV is great!  They have fun and interesting video clips, like "Worm Farm," about the boy who loves trash and worms!  The games are challenging making the kids into real scientists.  They also list things to try.  This is science that does not talk down to kids.  I have no idea if the show is still on but the website is a hit for us.

Next, I have to mention EekoWorld.  Create your own animal, learn ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and discover more about the world around us.  This site got A so engaged that when we first found it, she stayed on it all evening after school and again the next day.  Again, this site does not talk down to kids.  It really treats them like the important players they are the future of this planet, while still getting them to HAVE FUN!

Last, we have Meet the Greens.  Mini episodes about recycling and sustainability, fun games where kids learn to spruce up what you have instead of throwing away and buying more, and lots of laughs along the way! 

As an honorable mention I have say we have also used Nat Geo Kids to supplement our science lessons as well. Great videos and games here as well!! 

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