Building Science Skills
Tips for Parents
Close observation is a primary objective of the science program. You and your child can examine a rock, a tree, a leaf, an animal, or an insect. Take turns asking, "What do you see?"
Observe the sky together. Ask, "What shapes do you see in the clouds?" "Where will you find the sun in the early morning?" "At noon?" "In the evening?"
Can your child locate the North Star? Can he or she explain how it has helped explorers and outdoorspeople?
Much science education in school is related to sizes, colors, and shapes. You might ask your child to sort various objects by size, by color, or by shape. Objects can also be grouped by smooth or rough, soft or hard, heavy or light.
Observe the moon together over several weeks. Draw its various shapes. Examine the moon chart in the weather section of your daily newspaper or calendar.
Is your child learning about scientists in school? Has he or she heard of Thomas Edison? George Washington Carver? Marie Curie? Galileo? Jonas Salk? Barbara McClintock? Ask your child to tell you about the scientists he or she has studied.
Suggest making lists: "Let's think of all the animals, or plants, or planets we can." Keep adding to the lists over time and see how long they get.
Together you and your child can name various parts of the body: the heart, lungs, blood, and bones. Talk about their functions.
Ask why it is important to get exercise, to rest, to eat well, to dress appropriately for various weather conditions, and to see a doctor when you are sick. See what your child is learning about health.
Bring home a package of vegetable seeds and suggest that your child plant them. Notice how your child goes about it. Does he or she say, "Get some soil and a pot, put the seeds in the soil, water it, place it near the light"? You might also plant and care for flowers together.
Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 2nd 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.
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