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Elementary Science Education


Teaching Science to Kids

Humans are great story tellers, and there are no restrictions on the stories we are able to tell. Therefore, a natural question is, “Is that true, or just made-up (a lie)?” But then one is left with the honesty for the teller, which may be questioned?  Science has a way to solve this problem, and in teaching science to kids it is important to teach this solution. It based on the fact that any and all scientific information is based on two real-life things: observation and logical reasoning. In turn, observation and logical reasoning can be combined into one thing: Evidence!

Therefore, anything involving science, and many other fields as well, should be greeted with: Show me the evidence! If the idea/theory/proposal is valid, the speaker will be able to point to actual observations and go through the reasoning that leads from those observations to the conclusion (idea/theory). An idea that is said to be, “accepted by the scientific community” is one for which the observations and reasoning have been checked, tested, and found valid.

You may have learned that the heart of science is the scientific method: question, hypothesis, experiment/test, conclusion. In fact, this is just an elaboration of observation and logical reasoning. The experiment consists of setting up a situation in which one can make a more discerning observation. Note that many areas of science, e.g., anatomy, classification, astronomy, derive solely from observation.

If we teach science to kids only in terms of having them learn scientific facts, we are missing the main point. We need to have them understand how those facts are derived from observation and logical reasoning. Further, we need to have them develop these mind skills for themselves. We don’t want them to end up wondering: Who do you believe? We want them to end up demanding, “Show me the evidence!” and to able to evaluate that evidence.

The lessons in BFSU are written in a manner that will aid you in presenting the lesson in manner that draws kids to observe, question, and exercise their own reasoning in reaching conclusions. Beyond science, is there any area of endeavor where this is not a valuable skill?

Bernie Nebel

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