Science is a core subject, whether you are in charge of a homeschool science class or are teaching science in a public or private school, you are most likely looking for fun, exciting things to do to get kids involved in and excited about science. The great thing about science is that there are so many different areas to cover that you can really mix it up and find something to spark the interest of almost any child.
Science projects for a science fair or show are probably one of the best ways to make science fun and memorable for children and teens. However this can also be a cause of teen stress and even stress for parents if the child/teen does not have a natural love and curiosity for science. The first place to start is to choose a specific area of science for your project; life science, earth and space, physical science, science and technology, or some other science area that you find interesting. Then you can start looking for science project ideas. We have a great list of science projects here, or we have also found a fabulous resource in this Homeschool Science Activity Manual and Video Guide. These are simple projects that will be fun and also very informative. When you actually do something and see the process, you are much more likely to be interested in it and remember it.
Whatever you decide to do, remember to always put safety first, make sure kids have appropriate tools and equipment, and someone to supervise all their projects. This may be easier in homeschool science but try and get parents involved in the schools to make it possible there as well. Then keep a good attitude and make it fun. We all have different learning styles but nobody enjoys a long boring lecture about the history of science. However, most people love actually seeing and understanding how science history has created so many of the incredible things we take for granted everyday like electricity, running water, and microwaves. Science is all around us. Whether or not we enjoy learning about it is all determined by the way it is presented.
In 2009 students can celebrate Columbus Day on October 12th. Here are a few ideas that you can use to supplement your curriculum and add fun activities to your regular school days. These ideas are generally fit for elementary school age kids but we have found that even tweens have fun and these ideas can be adapted and done on a larger scale for middle school and high school students.
Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October each year. This holiday is great for history, geography, sociology and for certain science
History: Teach about the life of Christopher Columbus. Great questions to foster great group conversations are: What was Columbus trying to discover? Was it easy for him to find someone to fund his trip? What was his birth name? What did his father do for a living and what country was he born in? If you were sailing with Columbus what would you want to take with you?
Geography: Chart by coordinates the path that Columbus took to the “New World”. Have students make their own map of the “New World”. Show and talk about where Columbus landed when he got to North America. Talk about where he was supposed to land.
Sociology: Discuss with students what the current customs were for people like Columbus in his day. Talk about how this differed from the customs, language, way of life, art, and music of the Native Americans that they met when they got to North America.
: Since corn is often affiliated with the crops of the Native Americans you can make your own popcorn by starting early in the season with fresh corn and go through the whole process. You can also discuss corn and how it grows and all the ways we use it today including as an alternative energy source.
The possibilities with Columbus Day are endless. Most students love learning about the ships, the travel, the customs and the whole overall story of Columbus. This is the perfect time of year to get them excited about these things. It is also a great time to discuss how immigrants brought diseases to North America that were not originally native to here. This can even lead into conversations about where viruses like H1N1 have originated and how they got here. This also lends itself to discussions about how we fight these diseases and the importance of immunizations
on a global scale.
Fall is the best time to get a jump start on upcoming science projects. Your student may have a science fair or exhibit coming up that they need a specific project to submit. The following is a brief explanation of how to do a “Telegraph Science Project”.
Be sure that this as well as any science project or experiment is well monitored and that all safety precautions are taken. This particular project entails electricity which can be dangerous so please be cautious.
First make sure that you have all of the materials that you need:
- Coil of insulated wire, 22-30 gauge
- Plastic coated hookup wire
- 2 “D” cell flashlight batteries
- 2 “D” Battery Holder (for example, Radio Shack model 270-386)
- 4 small screws and matching screwdriver
- 6″ x 12″ (15.25 x 30.5 cm) base board
- 3″ (7.5 cm) iron nail
- 2 flat strips of sheet metal, one 7″ (17.75 cm), the other about half that length
- wire strippers (scissors can be used instead)
- 2 small pads of paper
- 2 pencils or pens
- About 4” (10.15 cm) in from one short end of the board and centered, tap in one of the nails.
- Leaving a tail of about 5” (12 cm) of wire, and starting at the base of the nail, wind 100 turns of insulated wire neatly around the nail, leaving the finishing end trailing from the base as well, after giving the two ends two twists to unite them. Use the wire strippers to strip away about 1” (2.5 cm) of insulation from each wire end.
- Bend the longer strip of metal into a L-shape with 1 90º angles: make the base of the L only about 1 ½” (3.8 cm) long.
- Between the nail and the closest short edge, also centered, but about 2” (5.1 cm), use a screw to attach the base of the L to the board, with the part that rises up towards the nail.
- Bend the L’s riser at a 90º angle so that it extends over the nail with the coil of wire. It should be about 1/8” (3 mm) above the nail. This is the sounder.
- Place the board so a long edge faces you and the nail is closer to the right-hand short edge. Put the batter holder above the board with its black wire trailing to the right and its red wire trailing to the left.
- In the upper right-hand corner of the board, about ½” (1.25 cm) in from each edge, screw in one little screw, leaving some of the neck exposed. Wrap the shorter trailing wire from the nail and the black battery wire under the screw head so that metal from each is touching the screw. Tighten the screw.
- In the lower left-hand corner of the board, about ½” (1.25 cm) in from each edge, screw in one little screw, leaving some of the neck exposed. Wrap the longer trailing wire from the nail under the screw head so that metal from the wire is touching the screw. Tighten the screw.
- In the upper left-hand corner of the board, about ½” (1.25 cm) in from each edge, screw in the shorter strip of metal, attaching the red wire from the battery holder before tightening it. Bent the metal strip into a very shallow Z so that it lies along the short end with its tip over the screw in the lower left-hand corner, but not touching it. This is the Key.
- Insert the batteries into the battery holder, paying attention to the positive and negative indicators.
- Test your telegraph by tapping the key.
The above was take from http://www.educationbug.org
Summer is not over and many of you may still be looking forward to one last vacation before school starts again. Vacations can be a great opportunity to get ideas for your next science fair project, or even get started on your next project. If you are headed to the lake or the ocean you may want to consider an Earth Science Project, you can take samples of water, rocks, or soil to use and evaluate later. Or if you are going to the mountains or the zoo you can always gather information to create a great Animal or Zoology Science Project. Click on either of the links in this paragraph for more great ideas in these categories, or go to Science Projects for many other great ideas that you may be able to incorporate with your plans for the remainder of the summer vacation.
Just wanted to let you know, if you are looking for more great science project ideas and instructions then you should visit educationbug.org regularly. We recently posted a really fun easy science project instruction article on How to Make a Magnet.
If that one isn’t of interest to you then maybe you would prefer one on Forms of Matter and Chemistry science projects. These articles are not only interesting, fun, and easy but a great way to spend time with your children doing educational projects. Most of them have very little cost or are made with objects you have around your house.