YOU can teach science!
When I began homeschooling twenty-six years ago, one of the topics I felt least prepared to teach was science. What if I couldn’t teach my children what they were supposed to learn? What if I missed something important? It didn’t matter that I completed a Teaching Science to Young Children course in college and taught science to preschoolers for several years. I still didn’t feel prepared to teach science to my children.
My thinking didn’t seem to make sense. I was “an educator”. The fact is I thought myself into a circle of concerns and questions.
Then came a realization.
Children LOVE being outdoors and they LOVE to ask questions—two factors providing a great foundation from which to work.
Maybe I could teach science?
Years later, I know I can. It’s not about me coming up with great plans and fancy curriculum.
It’s about me fostering the curiosity and providing engaging resources; being available to listen to ideas and help process information.
The same is true today as I embark on another year with a handful of learners, preschool through high school.
Perhaps you face the same doubts and similar questions.
You are not alone.
Your learners may be at different ages and stages. You may live in the city.
Again, you are not alone.
YOU can teach science!
Find out what your children want to learn, what interests them. Start there.
If there are no hints, start with animals. Most children love animals, of some type.
Add real experiences. Many can be found around your home or community.
Provide a field guide or two for found treasures.
Gather a pile of inviting non-fiction and picture books.
Need a few leads? Here are some of our favorites.
Blooms and Plants
From Seed to Plant, Gail Gibbons
How a Seed Grows, Helene J. Jordan
Planting a Rainbow, Lois Ehlert
Stems and Roots, David M. Schwartz
The Carrot Seed, Ruth Krauss
The Tiny Seed, Eric Carle
Tops and Bottoms, Janet Stevens
Insects and Crawlies
About Arachnids: A Guide for Children, Cathyrn Sill
About Insects: A Guide for Children, Cathryn Sill
Ant Cities, Arthur Dorros
Are You A Grasshopper? Judy Allen
Bugs Are Insects, Anne Rockwell
The Ant and the Grasshopper, Amy Lowry Poole
The Honey Makers, Gail Gibbons
Tadpoles and Frogs
About Amphibians: A Guide for Children, Cathryn Sill
Frogs, Gail Gibbons
Frogs and Polliwogs, Dorothy Childs Hogner
From Tadpole to Frog, Wendy Pfeffer
About Crustaceans: A Guide for Children, Cathryn Sill
A House for Hermit Crab, Eric Carle
Gulls, Gulls, Gulls, Gail Gibbons
Sea Shells, Crabs, and Sea Stars, Christiane Kump Tibbitts
What Lives in A Shell?, Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
About Fish: A Guide for Children, Cathryn Sill
All About Birds, Cathryn Sill
About Hummingbirds: A Guide for Children, Cathryn Sill
Counting is for the Birds, Frank Mazzola, Jr.
All About Mammals, Cathryn Sill
Blog post: Vintage Science Books for the WIN!
Use what is available in the backyard, at the park or beach front, on the porch or pond’s edge—wherever you happen to be.
Field Guides and Resources
A Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Botsford Comstock
Florida’s Fabulous Series
Florida’s Fabulous Waterbirds: Their Stories, Winston Williams
Florida’s Fabulous Land Birds: Their Stories, Winston Williams
Florida’s Fabulous Reptiles and Amphibians: Snakes, Lizards, Alligators, Frogs and Turtles, Winston Williams
Caterpillars, Bugs, and Butterflies, Mel Boring
Birds, Nests, and Eggs, Mel Boring
Trees, Leaves, and Bark, Diane Burns
Peterson Field Guides http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/peterson/
Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Fourth Edition, Powell, Conant, and Collins
Nature-Related Picture Books
A Nest is Noisy, Dianna Hutts Aston
Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney
One Morning in Maine, Robert McCloskey
Owl Moon, Jane Yolen
Roxaboxen, Alice McLerran
Snowflake Bentley, Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The Raft, Jim LaMarche
Nature-Related Drawing Books for Sketchers and Creatives
Draw 50 Birds: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Chickadees, Peacocks, Toucans, Mallards, and Many More of Our Feathered Friends, Lee J. Ames
Draw 50 Flowers, Trees, and Other Plants: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Orchids, Weeping Willows, Prickly Pears, Pineapples, and Many More..., Lee J. Ames
How to Draw Flowers (Dover How to Draw), Barbara Soloff Levy
Supplies and Materials
Carolina Biological Supply Company https://www.carolina.com/ (owl pellets)
Educational Innovators https://www.teachersource.com/ (dolomite samples and owl pellets)
Nature Gift Store https://www.nature-gifts.com/ (ant farms and live ants, butterflies)
We live in a suburban area. Though we have a backyard and a neighborhood to explore, we have to plan and be intentional about visiting state parks, ponds and streams, or the beach. When we travel we look for opportunities which are not typical or available in our area.
State and national parks
Factories and manufacturing plants
Museums and displays
State and county fairs
YOU can teach science!
And, in doing so, you will not only keep your child’s natural curiosity alive, but you will open doors for other discipline areas like math and writing.
There could have a WHOLE podcast on nature-related study. In fact, there is! Check out this conversation I had with Jenni and Jody over at From Cradle to Calling.