Building Science Skills
Tips for Parents
When you see a living creature on a walk, on television, or in a bookor movie, classify it as an amphibian, mammal, bird, reptile, fish, insect, orcrustacean. If you are not sure of a particular creature's category, research ittogether in a directory, encyclopedia, or animal book.
Observe the moon together over several weeks; note whether you are lookingat it at the same time every day or at different times. (You and your childcould do this exercise once a year for several years -- perhaps at a differentseason each year -- and learn something new each time.) Note the moon's locationand draw its various shapes; be aware of the stars around it. Examine the moonchart in the weather section of your daily newspaper or on a calendar. There isalmost no end to the astronomical observations you and your child can make. If,like many parents, you are not especially familiar with the sky, this exercisewill be a good learning experience for you as well as for your child.
Ask about the scientists your child is currently studying. Are men andwomen represented? What about people of color? What does your child know aboutthese scientists and their work?
Your child is learning about life in the oceans. See what your child cantell you about the following topics: whether there is more water or land on ourplanet; what kinds of plants and animals live in the different parts of theoceans; what we know about the ocean floor; marine fossils; and the potentialfor farming in the oceans.
Your child is learning more about the human body. Ask, "What happenswhen your heart beats?" Your child should have some basic knowledge aboutthe circulatory system.
See whether your child can find his or her own pulse. How about your pulse?Have your child measure your heartbeats. Ask, "What would happen if I ran amile and then you measured again?"
What does your child know about the effects of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol,marijuana, cocaine, and heroin?
See what your child knows about the digestive system. Ask, "How doesfood change as we digest it?"
Together think about the many ways the idea of time comes up in everydaylife. Take turns pointing it out. You might say, "I have time on my hands,"and your child might say, "Once upon a time." See how many you canget.
Ask why it isn't the same time everywhere in the world. Why, when it is 12noon in Boston, is it 11 am in Chicago?
Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 5th Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers.
Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.