View Full Version : How can I make Science fun for dd? (out of FIAR)

11-09-2009, 03:29 PM
Now before I get started, let me emphasize that dd is in 8th grade and (unfortuantely) out of FIAR. Don't want anyone thinking we're looking to replace FIAR. (Moderators, if this is still inappropriate to post here please delete).

Anyway, Kaity is never going to be a science major nor is she interested in any kind of future that involves science. I don't want to make it miserable for her but she is required to have science, now (in 8th grade) as well as through high school. Right now I simply make her read a section in her Science book each day so she'll at least get a taste for things, with the occasional quiz sheet thrown in the mix just to make sure she's actually getting something from her reading. She says she's not even really interested in doing any kind of 'experiements' or hands on stuff, and the daily reading is boring and sometimes confusing to her but I think if I found just the right thing that she might enjoy it just a bit more. I know I can MAKE her do things, but I also want her to get something out of it and maybe enjoy it just a bit. :)

So I'm wondering what's out there? She does well learning from things she watches on TV or videos. She LOVES writing. Maybe there's some interesting/captivating (read: not corny or boring) DVD's out there that she could watch and then write about? I'm thinking of getting the Planet Earth DVD's from the Discovery Channel. Maybe that along with some kind of study and writing about it could be Earth Science?

I don't know. Anyone have any ideas for me to ponder or check out?

Heather W
11-09-2009, 03:39 PM
Has she done all of BY as well? Those are some great studies that involved writing and all kinds of things in the context of a larger theme.

Julie in AZ
11-09-2009, 03:49 PM
How about Netflix science?
Could she volunteer with animals?

Nancy Ann
11-09-2009, 03:51 PM
Can you get non fiction books from the library or bookstore that are on topics that are interesting to her? You can put together a list of topics for each subject of science you think she should cover like: Earth, Physical, Astronomy etc... than maybe a list of topics for each of those categories and see what interests her and see what books can be found for those subjects. Than she can also write about it.

Maybe she could write some fiction short stories that incorporate some of those topics. She could research a science topic and try to incorporate it into a fiction short story. That would be challenging and still informative.

11-09-2009, 04:06 PM
I think the Planet Earth DVD's are great. Blue Planet is also very good (all about ocean/water). They are expensive if you get the whole set but I think available on Netflix. They are very extensive and I think could make a great basis for a science program for a non-sciency kid. Watch an episode and write a report on it, if she likes writing.

We also recently discovered the One Small Square books. They are below 8th grade level but I think could also be a good starting point. The thing I really like about them are the "experiements" on the margins. They are all super simple and involve things you have around the house. For example, when studying the swamp he suggests getting a stack of wet sponges and stepping on them to show how the ground in a swamp looks like it's dry but when you step on it you realize how much water it is holding. That's simplified a lot, but he gives good explanations. Each book could lead to all sorts of rabbit trails. One activity he suggests with each book is to make a diaroma of that habitat. We haven't done that as my ds isn't so into crafty things but if your dd is that might be fun for her.

Kendra AU
11-09-2009, 04:06 PM
What about Bill Nye? He has videos, books, and kits. He has a humours way of teaching any given science subject. I will however give a quick disclaimer that he does mention evolution as a fact not a theory. However, it's not in EVERYTHING that he does. ;)

What about Science Experiments in A Bag? They sell the books at Currclick now, and if I'm not mistaken there's one in the freebie section (or was) that's a mix of various levels/ideas.

Can you take an idea and find a GOOD book to explain the theory/idea and then find a fun way to make it hands on? She may see it as boring because she doesn't fully "get it". If she fully "gets it" then she might think it's kinda cool to test the theory.

What about Science In The Kitchen or Science Experiments You Can Eat. Both of which would teach her practical cooking and/or kitchen skills while learning some fun science principles.

While the books in the Science series Look-And-Find-Out might be below her, you could have her read the book on any given subject to one of the youngers and then maybe ask her to lead the whole pack in a science experiment? She'd probably learn a whole lot without even realizing it.

There use to be a program called Science By Mail. Not sure if they are still up and running though.. If they are it's a fantastic program! Each family/group/child is assigned a scientist that they become penpals with. Really and truly! They are also sent 2-3 kits in a year that they work through they do the assignments (usually hands on.. I recall a science show one year) and then they sent their personal results to their scientist. They can also ask their scientist ANY science question(s) they have and just chit chat with them as they would a normal every day penpal. It's really a fun program, and up until about 4 years ago I was still in contact with my penpal from yonks ago. ;)

Does your state have specific things she must learn or does she just have to be active in science? You could always pick a branch of science she's interested in and springboard from there too..

11-09-2009, 04:14 PM
Another thought...I just had someone recommened GEMS teacher guides. I'm not sure if it's ok to post the link here so I won't but it should be easy to find with a google search. I haven't tried them myself but have heard they are good. They have a TON of topics including crime lab, fingerprinting, environmental stuff. I think you have to get your own supplies for experiments but what I heard was that it's mostly simple stuff. Might be worth checking out. Doing one or two of them might spark an interest in science or just show her that it's not all boring. :)

11-09-2009, 04:19 PM
What are her interests? Maybe you could approach it from a different direction

If she is interested in make-up, perfumes, etc you could do the Science of Cosmetics: http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/articles/20050316/Feature1.asp (there are links to other sites including experiemtns. I know she doesn't want to do experiments but sight enjoy those)

If she likes cooking: http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/

Does she like amusement parks? Roller Coaster physics http://www.learner.org/interactives/parkphysics/

Physics in the form of music http://www.exploratorium.edu/music/

Basically try to find something she is interested in and try and find a science connection

11-09-2009, 04:50 PM
What are her interests? Maybe you could approach it from a different direction

That's exactly what I was thinking! Before kids, I worked as a graphic designer and you wouldn't believe the number of times I needed to know basic science to create ads for clients. I didn't care anything about the law of gravity until I had to design the back of a t-shirt for client with the main office that rested on the top of a well-known hill. Anyway, maybe just exposure--through videos and basic lab experiments--is enough for her right now. At least she'd had a starting point for when she wants to write a novel with an astronaut or doctor as a main character or do something else that involves a knowledge of science lingo.

Laura W.
11-09-2009, 06:42 PM
Since she does well with TV and video, she might enjoy an online course. One I'm considering for my oldest is Plato Science, which is offered through Homeschool Buyers Co-op. They have 3 middle school courses (for grades 5-9) and some high school courses as well. There are sample lessons available for both middle school life science and middle school earth and space science, so you could see if it's a good fit before spending the money on a course.

Another idea is the Standard Deviants videos, which you can get through Rainbow Resource. They are for grades 9 and up, but sound like a bit of fun.



11-09-2009, 07:38 PM
Christy, Nathaniel did a creative writing class this summer and he choose a science fiction theme of a space journey. He learned a LOT of stuff as he was researching to make his story believable. I'd go the the computer and there were websites with astronomy, history, physics. I was very impressed!

Maybe you could pick a topic a month and have her write a short story and research it. Astronomy(think sci-fi, Star Trek), geology(Journey to the Center of the Earth ideas), oceanography(20,000 Leagues?), zoology(Dr. Doolittle), you get the idea.

Just an idea where she could learn some basics and maybe enjoy it as well as incorporating something she loves. :)