Dinosaurs and Concrete

School holidays have just finished here in Victoria, which for us meant that there were a lot of wonderful holiday activities designed for kids on during what would be normal school hours (you know, the hours when it’s daylight and you can do something). Usually these activities are so flooded with kids and parents that the noise level is more than C can handle – or that I can handle, truth be told. But none-the-less we braved the holiday crowds to do two awesome activities. And they’re both within spitting distance of each other. Continue reading “Dinosaurs and Concrete”

Campervanning Across New Zealand on the 2e Bandwagon: Strewing Education

One of the greatest experiences about visiting NZ was a chance for all of us get some hands-on learning that would not be available in Australia. Knowing my kids and their preferences and attention spans, I had to carefully select what we visited – so good-bye long guided tours, talking heads or demonstrations. We would need something a little more hands on. And being science people, there was naturally a focus on science education. And boy was it fun. Here are some of the great places we visited – in roughly the order we visited them.
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Physics Experiments

We’ve been doing a few experiments lately in “C’s Science Workshop”. Most of these have been inspired by minute physics videos, and Mythbusters. But a fair chunk of that inspiration and experimentation has come from this awesome physics simulator.

This has inspired C to try some classic potential and kinetic energy experiments. Some of the questions he has had to ponder when designing, setting up and implementing his experiments include:
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Macabre History

My son C loves the macabre. He’s a sensitive boy; he can’t watch Finding Nemo, but strangely can watch Iron Man. And he’s not too fond of history when it doesn’t involve trains.

But even still, we have managed to find resources to get him engaged and interested in history – through the macabre. Continue reading “Macabre History”

Modern Maths to Do With Your Primary Schoolers: Fractals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I talked about previously, I don’t feel that modern maths really enters into the classroom, or general maths curriculum very often. But that doesn’t mean it can’t! In fact, some of this maths is so easy, you can start learning and playing and thinking about it with your preschooler or primary-school aged children.

Here’s some cool maths ideas we’ve done at home.
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Derailed by ‘Le Grande Project’

You know, I had a post planned for Christmas. I had it half-written. All I needed was an hour or so to polish it off….and then wham!

We were derailed by ‘Le Grande Project’. You see, we’d been asking the kids, particularly C, ‘what do you want for Christmas?’ for a while now. And received the dreaded shrug. Variations on ‘is there anything you really want?, elicited similar responses….until three days before Christmas. Yes. Three Days. That was when he wrote his letter to Santa. And oh boy, what a letter. Go have a look at it. Go on. It’s no particle accelerator, but – oh boy!
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Putting Together A Chemistry Curriculum

There is quite a difference between the way I thought I would teach chemistry compared to the way C prefers to learn. C is very visual-spatial in his thinking. He absorbs knowledge when he can see it and touch it. He doesn’t mind listening, but he can’t just listen – there has to be a visual component, or lots of space to wiggle and jump around. And when he’s excited by a new idea he gets very loud! Which is a joy. He also loves to play with an idea – to absurdity if possible.

This makes putting together a chemistry curriculum in the more formal way a problem. But it also gives us great scope for experimentation. Afterall, where else can you go? Continue reading “Putting Together A Chemistry Curriculum”

Three Inventions That Could Change Our World, By Not Changing Us

Today I thought I’d go in a different direction to usual. In the course of homeschooling, sometimes I come across really cool ideas when looking for lessons that I wouldn’t otherwise have known anything about.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could fix the problems of global warming, not by cutting down on our lifestyle, but through replacing old products with new ones? Cheaper ones? More humane, more economic, safer products? Well. here are three that I think could rock our world.
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How to Read Science Journalism

I have decided to write a piece on how to read articles on science. Because, quite frankly, most (but not all) science journalism sucks. The more mainstream the website / newspaper / TV the news appears in, the more the contents are awful and removed from reality.

It doesn’t matter what the topic – climate change, GM foods, vaccines, or ‘gee whizz we’re going to the stars!’, journalists by and large are science and maths illiterate, and will usually get it wrong. Even the good ones are prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.

The thing is, it’s really, really easy to make sure you’re getting the truth. And this is how to do it:
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