Tag Archives: science

how to encourage young scientists

How to encourage young scientists — insights by Jane Goodall – #readilearn

In this post, I am sharing a video by Jane Goodall Sowing the Seeds of Hope.

In a previous post, I shared some insights by the ACT Scientist of the Year, climate scientist Dr Sophie Lewis. Since then, Dr Lewis has been appointed ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment. Some events that shaped Dr Lewis’s journey to becoming a scientist include:

  • Her parents took an active interest in the world and natural events, such as the passing of Halley’s Comet, and encouraged Sophie to do the same by including her in their adventures.
  • Her family spent time outdoors in the natural environment and encouraged Sophie to explore, investigate and take an interest in every aspect of the environment.
  • Sophie received gifts that encouraged and extended her ability to explore and investigate the environment; both up-close with a slide-making kit, and from a distance with a telescope.
  • In school, she extended her interest by studying science and maths.

You’ll find that the experiences of Jane Goodall reiterate the importance of parental encouragement in developing positive attitudes to science. In fact, Goodall attributes her success to her mother, who she describes as ‘extraordinary’. Goodall says that she was born with an innate love of animals and that her mother always supported and encouraged it.

One of the first books that Jane bought with her own money was Tarzan of the Apes and, at just ten years of age, she began dreaming of going to Africa to live with animals and write books about them. Although others scoffed, her mother continued to encourage her, telling her that if she really wanted something, she’d have to work hard, take advantage of all opportunities and never give up.

I’m sure, whether educating at school or at home, you will find the words of Jane Goodall as inspirational as I did.

Continue reading: How to encourage young scientists — insights by Jane Goodall – Readilearn

special days and events to celebrate in the classroom in March

Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — March – #readilearn

As we step into March, here in the Southern Hemisphere, we are looking forward to some cooler weather and a reprieve from summer’s heat as autumn begins. In the Northern Hemisphere, many will be looking forward to springtime and warmer days.

Things to do in March

Regardless of your location, March is a good time for discussing the seasons and observing changes in the environment.

Records might include observations of changes in:

  • plants (remember this is the International Year of Plant Health so add that to your discussions)
  • animals
  • the weather including temperature
  • their own activities
  • the clothing they wear
  • the foods they eat

Records could be made using photographs, artworks (including drawing, painting, collage) and words.

The Classroom Daily Calendar can assist you record the weather and season for each day.

Clean up Australia Day

The first of March is Clean up Australia Day. The website provides useful information to assist each of us to be proactive in eliminating waste and reducing pollution. Each section in helping us to ‘Clean Up Our Waste’ explains the problem and suggests actions we can take. Whether large or small, every action makes a difference. Why not encourage your students to employ positive actions for the environment.

The website also lists ways individuals, schools and communities can become involved in cleaning up Australia on Sunday 1 March. (Clean Up Schools Day is today, 28 February.)

Continue reading: Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — March – readilearn

January - special days and celebrations for the classroom

January — Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations – #readilearn

Throughout the year there are many special days and events that are worthy of celebration in the classroom. They may draw attention to issues affecting our world and its inhabitants or celebrate achievements and contributions to the arts or our collective knowledge.

On the last Friday of each month, I will provide you with a list of days and events worthy of celebration in the following month. This is the list for January. The list is not exhaustive and is simply some ideas to spark your imagination.

International Year of Plant Health

As 2020 is the International Year of Plant Health, January is the ideal time to start thinking about how you can use the theme Protecting Plants, Protecting Life to foster learning throughout the year. It fits perfectly into Science Biology units that focus on living things, habitats and the environment; or perhaps you might consider using it as an overarching theme in your classroom for the year.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations,  the year “is a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.”

Some ideas:

    • Establish a vegetable or native garden
    • Adopt an area of bushland
    • Decorate your classroom with a plant theme
    • Have potted plants in your classroom
    • Schedule time in your program for exploring outdoors
    • Conduct experiments about the needs and features of living things — plants
    • Read books about plants
    • Discuss the importance of plants to our lives
    • View and discuss this promotional video

Continue reading: January — Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations – readilearn

Introducing climate scientist Dr Sophie Lewis

Introducing climate scientist Dr Sophie Lewis – readilearn

Last month during Science Week, I had the pleasure of attending an address at the Shine Dome in Canberra given by the winner of the2019  ACT Scientist of the Year Award, climate scientist Dr Sophie Lewis.

The ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Scientist of the Year Award ‘recognises the achievements of an up-and-coming local scientist with significant potential to continue to achieve in their chosen field of research.’

As tomorrow 21 September is the International Day of Peace and this year’s theme is Climate Action for Peace, I thought this was the perfect time to introduce you to Sophie.

About climate scientist Sophie Lewis

Dr Sophie Lewis received the 2019 award for research and the development of innovative techniques that are helping climate scientists the world over understand the impacts of climate change at the local, national and global level.

On her website, Sophie says “My primary research work involves investigating the contributions of human and natural influences to recent extreme climate events in Australia, such as heatwaves and floods.  Attribution studies are useful for understanding the potential risks and costs associated with future climatic changes. My interests are climate extremes, climate change and variability, and communicating climate change.

I am currently a Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (WG1, AR6) and a Domain Editor for WIREs Climate Change.”

Becoming a climate scientist

While I appreciate the importance of Dr Lewis’s research to the future of our planet, as an educator, what I enjoyed most about her talk was the story of her journey to becoming a scientist. I think all teachers and parents must be aware of the power their attitudes and actions have on the development of future scientists. Sharing and encouraging an interest in the world around them can have an enormous impact.

Continue reading: Introducing climate scientist Dr Sophie Lewis – readilearn

Spring into September with lots to celebrate

Spring into September with Lots to Celebrate – readilearn

The beginning of September marks the beginning of spring in the southern hemisphere and brings, along with it, many days to celebrate.

Wattle day

Here in Australia, we welcome Spring on 1 September with Wattle Day. The golden wattle is Australia’s national floral emblem.

You could celebrate Wattle Day by:

  • wearing a spray of wattle on your hat
  • writing a poem about wattle flowers and springtime
  • using yellow pom poms to make Happy Wattle Day cards to give to friends and loved ones
  • going for a walk around the school grounds or local neighbourhood to check out the wattle trees in bloom. With nearly one thousand species of wattle in Australia, you are sure to see a variety. Comparing tree bark, leaves and blossoms helps to develop the ability to identify the similarities and differences that support scientific classification.
  • investigating how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples use parts of the wattle tree; for example, for food, medicine, fuel, to make rope, fishing lines, string and tools such as boomerangs. Seasonal changes in the wattle trees indicate other changes that occur in the environment.

Father’s Day

This year, Father’s Day coincides with Wattle Day on 1 September. Father’s Day is a day to recognise the important role of fathers and other father figures. You can find suggestions for easy and inexpensive gifts in the Father’s Day resources, including a free list of Father’s Day Activities.

Continue reading: Spring into September with Lots to Celebrate – readilearn

celebrating three years of readilearn

Celebrating Three Years of readilearn with a Gift for You – readilearn

This week, readilearn celebrates three years of supporting teachers and parents of children in their first three years of school.

In recognition of this milestone, we are offering, until the end of the month, a 50% discount on any readilearn resource, including subscription. To take advantage of this offer, simply enter the code *birthday* at the checkout.

Continue reading: Celebrating Three Years of readilearn with a Gift for You – readilearn

A new classroom game for junior entomologists

A New Classroom Game for Junior Entomologists – readilearn

This week I have added a new classroom game for junior entomologists to the collection. The game is a fun way to integrate learning across the curriculum and, while appropriate for use at any time of the year, is particularly so when completing a unit of work about minibeasts.

The game works well as a group activity in science, literacy or maths lessons. It is also great as an activity with buddy classes. It is best if an adult or older buddy is available to explain and oversee the play.

Cross-curricular links

The game involves children in learning and practice of skills across curriculum areas; including:

Science

Biology – focus minibeasts

  • Living things
  • Features of living things
  • Needs of living things
  • Life stages of living things

Literacy

Reading:

  • For information
  • To follow instructions

Research skills – finding the answers to questions

Maths

  • Subitisation – spots on the dice
  • Counting one for one correspondence – moving spaces around the board
  • Tallies – recording points
  • Adding – totalling points
  • Comparing numbers – establishing the winner

Social-Emotional Skills

Games are an excellent way of teaching children the essential skills of getting along, including:

  • Taking turns
  • Being honest
  • Accepting decisions
  • Accepting that winning is not always possible nor the most important part of the game
  • Winning and losing gracefully

Contents of the Junior Entomologist Game package

a new classroom game for junior entomologists

All components of the game are downloadable and printable. Laminating is recommended for durability.

The package includes:

Continue reading: A New Classroom Game for Junior Entomologists – readilearn

review-the-secret-science-societye28099s-spectacular-experiment

Review: The Secret Science Society’s Spectacular Experiment – readilearn

Welcome to my review of The Secret Science Society’s Spectacular Experiment, a new junior fiction chapter book co-authored by Kathy Hoopmann and Josie Montano.

The book will be launched on 10 August, timed to coincide with National Science Week 10–18 August and just prior to Children’s Book Week 17–23 August. I received an advance copy from the authors in return for an honest review.

About The Secret Science Society’s Spectacular Experiment

Authors: Kathy Hoopmann and Josie Montano

Illustrator: Ann-Marie Finn

Publisher: Wombat Books

Publication date: 10 August 2019

Genre: Junior fiction

Number of pages: 92

The blurb

Mona likes to moan. Kiki is a worry-wart. Bart loves following rules. And Zane HATES following rules.

When the four of them are put into the Secret Science Society together, this could only mean one thing: DISASTER!

Will they be able to work together to create an experiment that Mona won’t moan about, Kiki knows is safe, Bart will think is perfect and that is really, REALLY exciting for Zane? But sssshhh, the ending is a secret.

Continue reading: Review: The Secret Science Society’s Spectacular Experiment – readilearn

celebrating man's first moon walk

Celebrating Man’s First Moon Walk – readilearn

Celebrating man’s first moon walk in the classroom with ideas for reading, writing, maths, science, technology, and history.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of man’s first moon walk. On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first man to place foot on the moon. Buzz Aldrin joined him shortly after and they spent just over two hours together outside the spacecraft.

Since then another ten astronauts, all of whom were American men, have walked on the moon. The six crewed moon landings took place between 1969 and 1972.

Celebrations of the first moon landing are taking place around the world. You can check out NASA events here and NASA resources for educators here.

The way you celebrate the event in your classroom can be big or small. Here are a few easy-to-implement suggestions for different subject areas:

Ideas for the classroom

Critical thinking

When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, he said, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Ask children to give their opinions about the intended message of Neil Armstrong’s words. Were his words effective? How else could it be expressed?

Writing
  • If I were an astronaut

Continue reading: Celebrating Man’s First Moon Walk – readilearn

What lives in trees?

Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge - trees

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes in search of trees. It can be one particular tree, a grove, woods, or forest. What makes the tree worth seeking? Go where the prompt leads!

This week, we’re observing a science lesson with a group of 5 – 6-year-olds in search of knowledge about life in trees.

What lives in trees?

The teacher displayed photographs of trees.

“We’ve been learning about where animals live. Today, we’ll list animals that live in trees.”

Hands shot up, bursting to contribute.

The teacher wrote:

possums, koalas, beetles, snakes, birds …

Amir’s English was developing but his classmates were puzzled when he said what sounded like ‘goat’.

“Repeat,” encouraged the teacher.

“Goat.”

When asked, Amir drew a tree with a recognisable goat standing in it.

“Not story,” smiled the teacher. “Real.”

Amir nodded and pointed to the laptop. “Google.”

A quick search confirmed it.

Everyone cheered. Amir added to their knowledge tree that day.

……….

Many of you who have travelled may have seen the tree goats of Morocco. However, I wasn’t aware of them until, a couple of weeks ago, a photo popped up on my desktop. Intrigued, I had to find out more. A search for the goated tree began.

I discovered that the photo wasn’t fake, as I had first thought. The tree is the Argania tree from which we get Argan oil, and the goats like to eat its fruit.

Although more hygienic methods are now often employed, the oil used to be pressed from the seeds which were passed in the goats’ poop after the fruit had been eaten. I’m certain that 5 and 6-year-old children would love this titbit of information.

If you are interested, here are some links to help you learn more about the tree goats:

The Tree Goats of Morocco

The Story Behind Bizarre Tree-Climbing Goats of Morocco

Moroccan argan oil: the ‘gold’ that grows on trees

However, it seems, as with so many things, some people thought they could make extra money from tourists wanting to photograph goats in trees. Sadly, it is not only the goats that suffer from these unkind practices. The trees suffer too and, according to one article I read, “are in danger and the forest is listed by UNESCO as an International Biosphere Reserve.”

Iconic ‘tree-climbing’ goats of Morocco revealed to be a scam

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