Friday, January 14, 2011

When a teacher inservice resonates more from the parent point of view

This week I attended a provincial professional development session on science in the elementary classroom. While the whole day was spent looking at the ways that science can be integrated effectively into the curriculum, one topic stood out for me:

The facilitator told us, the teachers, to give science homework every night .
15 minutes.
Every night.

What was this homework?

Look up at the night sky; look at the stars. Question. Discuss.
Look at the sun setting or rising. Question. Discuss.
Go for a walk. Pick up leaves, twigs, rocks, dirt, worms. Question. Discuss.
Throw a ball in the air. Watch it fall back down to the ground. Question. Discuss.
Play with the water in the tub. Use different size bottles. Question. Discuss.

How simple is that homework? How often do we, as parents (and as teachers), forget to value the simple things in life. Even more importantly, in today's world, children tend to look to the internet, or TV, or video games for the answers to any questions they have... if they even question.

The greatest scientists, explorers, inventors all had insatiable wonder. They played, made mistakes, wondered, questioned, and questioned, and questioned.

Try to find the inner scientist in your child. It doesn't take much to foster, but it can quickly fade away...


  1. Very interesting... the problem is, as teachers if we give this kind of homework and there are no questions to answers, how can we be sure the kids do it? In some ways this is a better thing for parents because they can be sure the kids do it. That doesn't make it less valuable, since of course a lot of homework is not valuable, it just makes me wonder...

  2. Thanks for reading, Kelly!
    The teacher side of this also emphasized the use of a science journal/notebook throughout elementary school so that students, parents and teachers could see the development of this "scientific" mindset. Also, the basis of this whole premise was that kids are spending increasingly amounts of time in front of tvs, computers and video games, and thus are missing out on the opportunities to simply experience science and to make their own discoveries. One teacher shared how most of the students in her grade one class hadn't any experience with playing with buckets, bottles and other items with water. Yet again, one spoke of an informal survey of her grade 4 class where 85% of them had played some kind of video game or had been on Facebook both before bed, and before getting to school. Kind of crazy.

    From my mommy point of view, it just made me really want to make sure I'm pointing out these little things in life. Appreciate the sunset. Ask why it's so many colours, etc.


Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post! ~Dawn