St. Louis, Missouri
June 18, 2000
June 18, 2000
June 21, 2000
5.124.1 - 5.124.6
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.
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.
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. https://peer.asee.org/8183
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