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How do you take science home?
I was wondering if anyone had any great ideas on how to encourage your students to study and observe science at home?
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I would demonstrate an engaging experiment in the classroom and then have students extend the lesson by having them modify or repeat the experiment at home.
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Depending on the grade level...but what about integration of technology somehow? One suggestion might be to create a "science scavenger hunt" where they have to document their findings with a cell phone photo--I know my phone not only time-stamps each photo, but will also provide the location that the picture was taken! They could share their findings with your, or put it into a presentation that is shared with the class. If they don't have a phone, they could "buddy up" and work together (but most every kid on the planet has a phone that can take pictures! Especially high school students!).
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I have an idea for studying nature at home. The is an assignment that I am currently doing for one of my classes. It is called the "Greening Down Project." This involves have the students obverse a tree near their home. The students keep a journal and describe the weather conditions, temperature, and any changes they notice. The changes could be if the leaves change color, or the leaves start to fall, etc. The can also describe if there are any animals that live in the tree like birds or squirrels. This can be an ongoing assignment that students can do at home and see how trees can change within a few weeks.
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Most children love bugs, ew! Having them look for and observe certain types of bugs, based on the lesson being taught. They can turn it into a journal where they write and draw pictures that they observe. They can even take a piece of food and leave it out to see how fast mold grows on it (of course with parent permission). Another possibility would be to have them look at the sky at the same time every night and see if there are any changes and record what they are. Science is everywhere!
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I agree with Markette. A scavenger hunt would be a great way to encourage students to observe and study science at home.
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What a great question! I love the responses that people are giving below. The scavenger hunt with photos to document and a community forum to share sounds like a wonderful idea. I think the use of technology would really engage the students and promote their participation in the activity at home. I like the idea of relating this science scavenger hunt with exercise in some way as well. Perhaps students can be encouraged to take a 15 minute walk with their parents each day and observe the animals they see along the way?
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In third grade we did a fun lesson on the phases of the moon that involved "taking home science". Students were given a foldable to take home that had them sketch the moon and write a one sentence description. They completed this task for the entire lunar cycle. This activity was a great example of applying science in the classroom to science in the real world. Yes we could have shown them a picture of the lunar cycle and phases of the moon but I believe it was much more meaningful to the students as they witnessed it first hand.
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What I normally do is based on the lesson or skill for the week I try and find an activity that I can have them do at home like finding energy sources they use at home and write about how they use them with or without their family. Also having them observe the phases of the moon etc. My students love doing at home observations
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I have used some really great take-home science labs for Chemistry and Physics. They are from books published by NSTA press called Take Home Chemistry and Take Home Physics. Have a look in the Learning Center. Some times NSTA will have a couple of chapters for free viewing. Both books are designed to be used for the entire year.
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Easy and fun way is scavenger hunt because you are not just having fun you are also learning from it so I will say "Scavenger Hunt".
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I think that informal education is so important, especially for science. There are so many easy things that a teacher can do to promote and guide informal learning outside of the classroom. Below I have listed a few ideas...
-Have students observe a tree or plant near where they live for a few weeks and write their observations in a journal
-Have students collect rocks to bring into class, examine, and classify
-Have students collect a soil sample from their neighborhood and record their observations and then compare/contrast them in class
-Ask students to bring in 3 items from their homes(with permission) that they predict will either sink or float and then test their hypotheses
I hope a few of these ideas help you and good luck!
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If you do a fun or unexpected activity in class with common household items, remind students that they most likely have these things at home and they can show family/friends something cool they learned in school.
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Some ideas that you can take since home is having students observe nature and their patterns. One lesson I taught was about observing the sun, moon, and stars. Since we couldn’t observe the moon or stars outside during school I would have students do it for homework and draw the patterns they would see in the sky.
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Something really easy that kids can do is to track the sun and the moon. They can watch where the sun rises or sets each day or week and track the changes over time. They can make sketches or mark on their fence that it matches up to. They can also do this with the moon too or focus on the different phases and sketch the moon everyday for a month. For older kids you can have them do this and correlate it to the tide and have them make either predictions or connections to the moon the sun and the tide. The idea is that science is everywhere and can be very simple and easy and applicable.
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My name is Leanna Ferreiro, I am a senior in Elementary Education. There are several ways that you can encourage students to practice science at home. I believe that students learn most when they apply what they know to works at home. A way in which you can encourage students to do this is by telling them to experience nature. They should walk outside and explore, play outside with their friends and be aware of their surrounding, and be vigilant about nature as a whole. Other ways that you can have students apply science at home is through simple science experiments that they can do at home. These simple experiments will encourage students to investigate ON THEIR OWN, which is vital to their learning and application of the process.
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I love some of the ideas I'm reading in the comments on here -- especially any of the ones involving making observations. Anybody can take a journal home, make some observations on a daily basis, draw some pictures, and keep a log. What a great way to practice science habits without taking up class time, and it could lead to great discussion back at school the next day.
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The NSTA has amazing resources with great tools that can help. It always depends on grade level and their capacity of doing projects at home. Also, depending on their help at home I would create safe home experiments that are easy with the help/ supervision of a parent. Always keeping in mind the safety and resources that the students have. Science can be seen everywhere, it does not have to be experiments it can be observations that they see in their surroundings. Simple observations that can allow the students to look forward to something after school that allows them to see science in the real world.
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Make connections specific student's interests and their environment outside of school. If a student is fascinated with insects, challenge them to find as many different kinds as they can! You could do the same with spiders, or plants (maybe flowers or trees). Send them out on little scavenger hunt assignments that can peak their interest! I think it's great that you want to encourage students to explore science at home. Students shouldn't think of science as something they do only at school. Awesome topic!
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I am not sure what grade level you are interested in, but I found an article that has some excellent ideas for middle school students: Weekend Home Labs
According to the article, students involve their family members in investigations conducted over the weekend, then they present their findings in class on Monday.
Another article for younger children uses fingerprinting to involve parents and children:
The Home Zone: Get Familiar With Fingerprints
If you do an advance search using "home zone" as the keyword, you will get some additional ideas.
Hope this helps.
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You might want to consider this from NSTA
Help Your Child Explore Science
Science is a way of understanding the world, a perspective, and a pattern of thinking that begins in the very earliest years. That is why parental involvement is so important in a child’s science education. Families who explore the world together nurture scientific thinkers and good students!
Here are the topics from this link:
Science in Your Home
Set High Expectations
Support School Science
Myths About Science
Where Can I Go for Help?
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
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Maybe there is a trade book that connects to what a child is learning in science. They could take the book home and share it with their family. An source for science trade books is NSTA's Outstanding Trade Books.
You can find titles of these books at the following location:
NSTA Outstanding Trade Books
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I think that sending home science is a great way to help engage kids, and their parents! There are several great ways to encourage science observation and investigation at home. Here are a few ideas that work great:
- moon phase observations - have students record the shape of the moon every night for a month or assign each student one night to observe the moon. When I've had the kids observe every night, we make a flip book from their moon phases observation. When I assign each student one night, we use the observations to decorate the room.
- plant observations - have students take home a plant in a cup. Each day or week have the students record specific data with their parents (i.e. plant height, flower growth, etc). Observations can include drawing picture, graphing growth, etc.
-weather observation - observe the weather for a week (or month) to identify weather patterns.
- science current events - find current events from the paper, internet (reputable source), or tv news that relate to current events.
- science books at home - depending on the grade level, you can either send home a storybook reader or assign a science themed chapter book.
Hopefully some of those ideas help!
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There are a series of trade book by Dr. Richard Lowrey and published by NSTA Kids Press that actually include parents in a child's learning.
They are called the "I Wonder Why Series".
I would check these out.
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This topic really interested me and I enjoyed all the suggestions. I think I can really use these in my future classroom. I like the idea of doing projects at home such as the moon chart or observing a plant for a month and recording what they see. I think that kids should be stimulated both at school and at home, but it is at home where their curiosity arises when they are young. These are great projects to send home to the students so that not only they can be involved with science outside the classroom and see that science is all over the place, everyday,and they can apply it to real life, but they can interact with family members as they work together. Thank you for sharing the ideas.
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I am currently going to school to be a teacher and I thought these responses were really full of great ideas! I think it is not as easy to have students do science things at home as easy as it is to do other subjects just because how involved it is. I think these ideas are a great thing to remember for my future classroom!
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I've taught for 26 years and have found that anytime you can make it relevant to them personally, the more engaged they will become!
I am not sure which grade level you currently teach but I have a suggestion for a plant observation project that students can do at home. This project is for third grade students. The Bonnie Plant company will supply your class with free cabbage plants. The students are to take the cabbage plants home, plant them, care for them and observe the growth. There is even a $1000 scholarship (toward education) given for the "best in state" cabbage. Here is the link to their website (http://bonniecabbageprogram.com/). This website is loaded with information for the teachers, parents and students.
As a pre-service teacher, I am always looking for ways to help students bring school home. I feel that students can truly benefit from a real world connection to their learning.
Best of luck to you.
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These Are All Great Ideas.
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science is everywhere! If you have a garden, you can explain how a seed becomes a flower, how the sun affects your garden, or even the phase of a butterfly. Also, in the kitchen, measuring things to cook or bake, cooking a very delicious way to learn science!
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Maybe even sending suggestion sheets home to the parents on what they can do to become "home teachers" would be helpful! Even simple science activity suggestions! Most of them want to contribute to their child's education but do no know how!
Hello everyone, I just read all of your posts, and I agree. Science is everywhere!! Thank you for those great articles!
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Romina, you are exactly right...science is everywhere! I'm always surprised when I talk to friends and co-workers who think that they are not "science people." It's always fun to point out how they are (gardeners, athletes, bird watchers, even someone who uses leverage to open a jar). By sending home investigations that families can work on together, we help parents realize that science is really all around us.
Cathy, thanks so much for sharing the link to the Burpee cabbage plant project. What a great resource! Here's a link to NSTA Express freebies section There are lots of great free resource here as well.
I have an idea for you. I had my students keep a moon journal. They are writing 5 to 6 sentences about what they see and about what is happening. The also had to draw the moon and name the phase of the moon. Some of the parents mention to me that they enjoyed watching the moon with their kids. I see it as science family night
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An activity that I found interesting to use at home for students is teaching them how to make butter in order to see how a liquid takes the shape of its container when it turns into a liquid. I used a small container, whipping cream, and salt. You put it into the container and you have the children shake it until it forms into a solid. Once they see how it took the shape of its container, you can have crackers for them to try their butter :) It is a fun and interactive activity which the second graders I worked with loved.
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Something that I think would be good for the students to study at home would be taking a plant home and watching how it can grow. I think the responsibility that it can show the students is a very helpful for parents as well as for them. Students will be able to see how the plants grows, and by doing that they will need to know the essentials in taking care of it. For example, watering it every so often and seeing how the plant progresses as each day goes by. I think this is a fun activity for the students to do because they will be able to feel like they have something to take care of everyday.
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These resourcess are very helpful! I love all the activites that can be done at home. These activities promote family togetherness and learning. Through these experiences the students develop more about what they know about science concepts.
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Science is everywhere. I believe you can take Science home as well. I can recall when I was in Kindergarten our Science homework was to go outside and draw what we observed. I think this was a great home learning activity. Science inside and out side your home. There are many science activities in a home. Chemical reaction, when mixing products whether its cleaning or cooking. The water flow, weather observations, electricity, etc. There is so much you can do at home with science.
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I am currently a teacher candidate who had to plan and execute a science workshop to my colleagues. I think a huge part of motivating and encouraging students to study science at home is by giving them the materials and guidance to do so. For example, my workshop was on trees meant for a group of 2nd graders. Students learned about tree parts, trees through the seasons, and tree products. My station focused on tree products where I taught students about every-day items that come from trees and the papermaking process. I wanted to have students make their own paper in class, however, the process calls for the paper to dry over-night. You could technically leave them in the classroom, however, you might not have the time for it in class or it might be too messy. I gave students directions and a list of materials on how to make it home. After learning about tree products and the paper-making process, students might be eager to learn more on their own time when given directions such as these. Hope this helps!
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I usually use the website called Pinterest. It has many at home science activities that homeschoolers use. I also found a website that you can put in a science topic and fins at home experiments for kids to do. It's located at http://www.education.com/activity/third-grade/science/'' target="_blank">http://www.education.com/activity/third-grade/science/' target="_blank">http://www.education.com/activity/third-grade/science/[/url] I hope that helps.
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Pintrest is an amazing resource and can stimulate the mind of any teacher in a variety of subject areas!
I am currently a student studying elementary education and I loved these responses!! I was so intrigued by the question because I have no clue how to send it home!! Thanks for posting such awesome links I can put in my teacher toolbox!
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You could do a learning segment on phases of the moon and have students record their observations every night then discuss them in class the next day. Theres also an activity you can do with a ball and a lamp to demonstrate the phases to the class.
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Wow these are some great ideas! I am going to follow this post so I can reference later.
We've used the book Everyday Science Mysteries as a provocation for some of the lessons I teach (4th grade), just based on the class work I have had several students take the mysteries home to continue to work on.
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I am attaching several collections of article that represent parent involvement with science and their children.
Awesome resources! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for providing so many wonderful resources! Do you have any tried and true methods that you use to help encourage parent involvement in science?
I would assign extra credit for events attended at local museums or even parent night. The student who attended would write a brief description of where they went, what they saw, and what they thought about it (what they learned). This was signed by an adult for authenticity.
Sometimes the places had handouts or students did some kind of little project and they presented that as well.
I don't believe that extra credit for attendance to things that may cost is fair. What about the child whose family cannot afford it? They are put at a disadvantage....
Students may observe science at home in a variety of ways. For instance, children can apply what they learned in class through home experiments (age appropriate). Some of these experiments include: “Dancing Raisins, Roto-Copter, Outrageous Ooze, Black Magic, Floating Eggs in Water,etc.” The activities ought to relate to the concepts children are learning in the classroom. It should extend on their knowledge, and spark interest to the student. The topic you choose depends on what area in science your trying to teach, and the grade level.
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When I was teaching in middle school, I had a list of science labs (some printed in a file as well as posted on my class website) of "Take Home Labs". Students were required to do three each grading period for the equivalent of a test grade and submit a short report, signed by a parent who had helped or saw them doing it. The point was to get across that science does not have to be done at school
I presented this at an NSTA middle level share-a-thon a few years ago. Here is my information. The variations for elementary were listed in articles that were posted earlier by Adah, I think.
Personal_Resource_NSTA_2012_-_Handout_-_Take_Home_Labs_Activity.docx (0.04 Mb)
Personal_Resource_Family_Involvement_in_Science_-_NSTA_Indy.pptx (1.12 Mb)
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As a student teacher, I am thankful I came across this post and great ideas. I wanted to add that at my daughter's schools, the teachers have had 'science days' for each grade level, where parents are encouraged to come along with the children and try out various science experiments.
It has always been a great success and gets the first spark of curiosity put in both parents and children. The teacher can also give the parents more information on what they can do with their children at home.
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Just remember...your passion for children and love of your subject will perpetuate to the students and may provide the intrinsic "spark" for science learning! Best of luck in your future career!
Something that would be good for students would be to keep a moon journal, and you can have students track how the moon looks every night. This is a good way for students to observe and partake in science every day. This activity would be for older students, probably 4th and up.
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I saw one really cool idea while I was working at the Science Center in Baltimore, MD. You can purchase ant farm kits and have the ants sent to your house. As a teacher you can have the students build their own ant farm, and keep a six week journal that tracks the growth and development of the ants. This to me, is a good idea because it holds the students accountable for their own project and makes them feel important knowing that they are responsible for the ants. You could have students bring in weekly pictures of the farm to show the class their personal progress with the farm. I hope to try something like this in my own class. Hope this helps.
Jaclyn St. Armand
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Hi! I find that encouraging students to see the science in their everyday lives is a way to encourage them to utilize science outside of school. In my science methods class we are currently logging a tree journal as the trees transition into their beautiful fall colors. We are noting the weather and any other things that may be influencing the rate at which our tree is changing. I feel that this is a wonderful opportunity for students to see how much science really plays a huge role in our everyday lives. Just simply practicing observation of our surroundings is practicing science outside of school.
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Whenever you do a lesson in class, it is always good to create an extend portion where you have the students take the knoweledge they
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Whenever you do a lesson in class, it is always good to create an extend portion where you have the students take the knoweledge they've learned in cllass and apply it to an at home assignement. It helps keep the information frrsh in the students' mind.
You can have students take home critters(mealworms), to analyze and observe. They get to see the life cycle of a beetle, and conduct experiments.
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I try to give the students a question about what we have studied to ask their parents when they get home. This can create a lively discussion among family members.
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Hi Betty! I really like your idea because it is so simple and it gets the whole family involved. I think that sparking discussions about science within the home is a wonderful way help parents understand what their children are learning as well as foster a great opportunity for informal learning for all involved. I hope to use this idea in my own future classroom!
Here is what I think is a fun one: asking your kids to bring 2-3 different types of rock with observations and you could classify them in class. (They'll observe a lot about the locations they found them in, how deep they were settled, etc.) Their is a lot you could do with observation and incorporate it with STEM teaching by weighing/measuring rocks, and doing scratch tests.
Hope this helps you!
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Getting students to take science home with them can be a difficult task. I would suggest for an environmental science activity during class to take students on a nature walk outside. During the walk ask students to pick up two things from nature. Have the students closely observe these objects in the classroom with magnifying glasses. Then ask the students to take a nature walk around their home and collect two things. Ask the students to bring these items to class and have them observe these items as well and then have the students compare the items. By having the students collect things from nature around their homes this may cause students to observe nature around their homes like they haven't before. This observation could spark a curiosity about the nature around their homes.
I hope this was helpful.
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I would send out a newsletter to the parents and let them know ahead of time so they can make sure what needs to get done, is in fact done. You could make it a lesson that specifically incorporates a family member helping them.
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Science is all around us. You can easily show your kids all kinds of science lessons at home. You can introduce density, habitats, solid, liquid and gas. Pinterest is a good resource to use when thinking about conducting science at home.
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I wanted to do this with the class that I am in now but it seems that we never have the time. Have the students record every time they throw something away, the original idea is a golf ball and to add a small red dot on the golf ball every time they use a disposable item i,e., straw, plastic cup, styrofoam, and so on. After a week they can compare one another's red marks and discuss it. You can obviously adjust how often you compare the red dots. You can give the students an open forum or lead them down a specific discussion path and see where it leads to. This will give them a sense of their contribution to the worlds pollution problem. It may also open their eyes to how something so small can pile up so fast.
405 Activity Points
A great way to take science home is for students to track their water usage. Attached is a great graph in which students can record the number of times they use something and calculate how much water they use in a week. Great for conservation and human impact lessons!
CAT_LP#2_Handouts.pdf (1.38 Mb)
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Anna and everyone,
I, too, used to think that science could only be done in a lab at school with your classmates and teacher present, but I am currently taking a science methods course (I am a student teacher), and I have learned science can be done at home or anywhere, for that matter. For example, if you are weeks or close to teaching your students on the different moon phases, you could have your students look outside at the moon for a month and record in their science notebooks what they have seen. It could be in drawings or writing. Your students for a whole month will have observed all phases of the moon, provided good weather conditions of course, but still, that could be talked about in the class as well! When you do begin to teach the moon phases in the class, the students will have already explored/observed and be able to talk about and understand what you are teaching on a whole different level. Also, you will get your students to think why has my teacher asked me to look up in the sky every night, and this will create great questioning/inquiry from your students. This is one of many examples. You could also have them do science fair projects, grow a plant at home, and many more. Hope this helps!
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What a great question. This may be difficult as you try to keep students interested and learning. There are several interesting ways to get your students to enjoy science at home. Something interesting that one of my professors has given us as an ongoing project is to take home catepillars. We were required to log the progress and any observations as we observed the catepillars ate and grew, formed their chrysalis and then transform into butterflies. Other projects could be fun for students as anything with examining growth can be exciting. Maybe during instruction of plant growth, students can be grouped and assigned different types of plants like some groups may have an avacado while a different group plants sunflower seeds. In those groups, since students will bring the plants home, they can share what variables they are changing and compare how their plants grow in different settings (for instance, differences in sunlight exposure).
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