Asee peer logo

Beyond The Classroom Walls: Relating Science To Children’s Everyday Lives

Download Paper |


2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.124.1 - 5.124.6



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Elizabeth A. Parry

author page

Laura Bottomley

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3280

Beyond the Classroom Walls: Relating Science to Children’s Everyday Lives

Laura J. Bottomley, Elizabeth A. Parry North Carolina State University/Science Surround


Children have a natural tendency to investigate and explore the world around them. They do not usually interpret this as being scientifically aware. Through a series of classes that illuminate the science in the kinds of activities and play they engage in regularly, we help children to see that science is a part of their daily life. Placing science firmly in this context enables them to explore and learn without fear. This paper describes a series of hands-on classes designed to accomplish this objective with children ages four to twelve.

1.0 Introduction

Children have a natural love of discovery and investigation, and science is a natural subject of excitement for kids. Unfortunately, science is not a subject emphasized heavily in elementary schools. In some states, like North Carolina, elementary teachers are judged primarily on reading and math test scores. Bonuses and even employment rely heavily on these end-of-grade tests. Science, therefore, becomes a subject taught when time allows.

This paper describes a series of classes that expose children ages four to twelve to the science in their everyday play worlds. Taking science beyond the classroom walls puts it in the kids’ point of view. Activities that allow children to see the science in their everyday lives will help them to realize that science, like math and reading, is a subject not to be reserved for specially allotted class time, but something that can be explored at will everyday.

2.0 Implementation

These ideas are implemented through a series of one to two hour classes. Nearly any childhood area of interest can be adapted to a science lesson, and children are often amazed to see the science in those play areas they love1,2. These classes have been used in the context of extracurricular science camps, and some have been used as a part of public school outreach programs. Example sessions include Bubble Reasoning, the Science of Pirates, the Wild West, amusement parks, toys and candy. A brief description of each session follows.

Parry, E. A., & Bottomley, L. (2000, June), Beyond The Classroom Walls: Relating Science To Children’s Everyday Lives Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8183

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2000 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015