Tag Archives: science education

observing living thing local environment

readilearn: Observing living things in the local environment – animals – Readilearn

Observing living things in the local environment helps children develop an appreciation for all living things, not just the exotic animals that feature most commonly in picture books and wildlife shows. It also helps them appreciate the diversity of living things in their local area and may stimulate an interest to know more.

Conducted over a week, including a weekend, observations can reveal a surprising number of creatures. If the observations are repeated throughout the year; for example, during different seasons, a greater diversity may be observed.

Be part of a larger project

While observations can be conducted independently as part of the class curriculum, sometimes you can be involved in larger citizen science projects such as these two Australian projects: the Aussie Backyard Bird Count and The Atlas of Living Australia. Data on The Atlas of Living Australia enables you to find out what living things others have observed in your local (Australian) area.

For those living outside Australia, you may find resources specific to your location by searching National Geographic, Scientific American or simply by conducting an internet search.

Books and other resources

While many species observed may be identified through an internet search, particularly using the resource section of your local museums, it is also useful to source books about the wildlife of your area, or to seek out local groups and experts to assist identification and to develop understanding of local habitats and living things.

Circle picture book by Jeannie Baker

Include picture books if possible too. For example, earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending the launch of an exhibition of collages created by Australian author and illustrator Jeannie Baker to continue reading

Source: readilearn: Observing living things in the local environment – animals – Readilearn

@cesarharada, Encouraging innovation and problem solving through science

Cesar Harada

I found this TED talk by Cesar Harada totally engaging. Cesar, who describes himself as half Japanese half French, teaches science and invention to students from aged 6 to 15 at the Harbour School in Hong Kong.

Cesar opens his talk by explaining that, when a child, he was allowed to make a mess, but only if he cleaned up after himself. As he grew up he realised that he had been lied to: adults make messes too but they are not very good at cleaning up after themselves.

He closes his talk by suggesting that children should not be lied to. He says,

“We can no longer afford to shield the kids from the ugly truth because we need their imagination to invent the solutions.”

He then adds,

” we must prepare the next generation that cares about the environment and people, and that can actually do something about it.”

In between he describes some scientific thinking and inventions made by his students to solve local problems initially, then problems that affected other kids remotely, and finally problems that have a global impact.

I’m sure that you too can only be impressed by the learning and the positive actions that are being undertaken by these innovative students and their inspirational teacher. When I hear (true) stories like this, it certainly gives me hope for a better future.

I hope you enjoy Cesar’s talk as much as I did.

You can also find Cesar on Twitter.

Thank you

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Curious scientists

In my current out-of-the-classroom position I write science curriculum materials for use in early childhood classrooms. It is an interesting and challenging role, but also lots of fun as I work with a number of other writers who are also teachers, with an added qualification in science. As many of them have studied science at tertiary level, worked in various other fields, and taught science at high school level, I am surrounded by people with a lot of knowledge and experience different from mine.
One thing that is wonderful about working with a group of scientists is the range of topics that are raised for discussion around the table at lunch time. Scientists are naturally curious and they don’t take anything at face value. They delve into it, interrogate, investigate and explore until they have answers to questions that may have arisen. I learn a lot! Like the difference between degradable and bio-degradable; how close the asteroid came to Earth; and mitochondria, genetics and children with three parents!
On the home front too, I am surrounded by scientists; computer scientists and environmental scientists, each with a strong sense of social responsibility and ethics. I am fortunate to be swept along in learning by their interests and enthusiasm.
In previous posts I have shared some thoughts about the importance of curiosity and of my opinion that children are born scientists. I am always delighted when I come across something that supports my opinion. (Yes, there are others!)
I have recently discovered a lovely blog Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist written by a local scientist Desley Jane. This week she shared an interview with another local scientist Julia Archbold. I enjoyed it so much I decided to share it with you.

These are just a few of things I like about it:
They are both young female scientists. (For too long science was seen as a male-only province.)
The importance placed upon curiosity, asking questions and ‘quizativity’ (what a great word!)
The excitement of learning.
That their engagement with science makes a positive contribution ‘the world’.

Please visit Desley’s blog to read the entire interview and explore what else she has to offer.

Thank you

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.

Scientist SpotlightThis is my first interview for my Scientific Reasoning feature. The questions will be the same for each interviewee and I hope that they will give us some insight into the lives of a few of today’s scientists.


Dr Julia Archbold is a good friend of mine. We have known each other for many years and have worked together in the past in our twenties (ish). I admire Julia greatly, both as a scientist and as a person. She is warm and talented, with a quick wit and a very kind soul. She is about to embark on an exciting new adventure and I caught her just in time for this interview.

me: So I know you’re a scientist, but when did you decide to become a scientist? What were you thinking? (Not WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?! but what made you decide that science was going to be your future?)

Julia: I…

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