Tag Archives: science

There’s Something Fishy Going On – #readilearn

Since this year is the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, I thought I’d begin with a post about fish. Learning about fish is relevant to the biological sciences curriculum when we explore living things, their features, where they live, what they need and how they grow.

I decided to jot down some of my questions and write answers to them. We all know what fish are, right? There’s nothing difficult about describing a fish. But when I really started to think about what I know about fish, I realised I had more questions than answers and that explaining what a fish is, isn’t as easy as I thought.

These are some of the questions raised when I thought about fish. Perhaps you have others. If so, please list them in the comments so I can research the answers. Note: While I know answers to some of my questions, as I’m sure you do too, I’m not sharing answers in this post as I have more research to do. The answers will have to wait for another time.

25 Fishy questions

  • What is a fish?
  • How do fish swim?
  • Where do fish live?
  • How do fish breathe under water?

Continue reading: There’s Something Fishy Going On – readilearn

Handouts for Parents to Support Children’s Learning – #readilearn

Here at readilearn we recognise that not all learning takes place in school. We know that learning can occur anywhere at any time and continues throughout life. It can be planned or incidental. It can be fun and joyful. It can even cause frustration at times. In fact, some frustration may encourage the learner to push further and try harder to find a solution. That is especially so when the frustration occurs in a purposeful activity in which the learner is engaged and feels a need to solve. Unsuccessful attempts don’t mean failure. They mean it’s time to try again. We see this in situations from a child learning to walk or ride a bike to scientists finding a cure for disease. What we most need to do to develop a love of learning is inspire curiosity and creativity and avoid ringbarking either through confinement.

As the end of the school year in Australia approaches, most teachers and parents are looking forward to the holidays as much as the students are. The last couple of years have been tough with changes to teaching and learning circumstances and the increased involvement of parents in monitoring their children’s school learning at home. While parents may have become more familiar with teaching methods used in the classroom, it is important for them to realise that learning can still occur during the holidays without the formality of classroom exercises.

The most important things parents can do for children, right from birth and through their developing years and beyond, is to talk with them, play with them and read to them — every day. The same can be said for teachers.

I previously shared this wonderful TEDtalk by 7-year-old Molly Wright in a post about The Importance of the Early Years. But it is inspiring and watching it gives me joy and I thought watching it might also give you joy. It is definitely worth sharing with parents to encourage and affirm positive interactions with their children.

We also have some handouts of suggestions which you are welcome to copy and send home to parents. You can find them in the Classroom Management — For Parents collection. They are all free resources and suggest ways of increasing the learning in everyday situations, mostly by being aware of the opportunities that arise incidentally throughout the day.

21 suggestions for maintaining reading momentum during the holidays

25 ways to keep the children thinking mathematically during the holidays

Continue reading: Handouts for Parents to Support Children’s Learning – readilearn

Fruit, Vegetables and Food for Thought — Science Week – #readilearn

Next week, from 14 – 22 August, is National Science Week in Australia. The theme for this year is Food: Different by Design which fits perfectly with this year being the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables.

Focus on fruits and Vegetables

Here is a wonderful video promoting fruits and vegetables for the International Year.

The video is fun to watch and makes my mouth water with all the bright and colourful photographs of delicious fruits and vegetables. If you watch the video with your students, it may lead to many and varied follow-up discussions and activities. Here are just a few suggestions.

Discussions

What fruits and vegetables can you name?

Which of them are fruits and which are vegetables?

What is the difference between fruit and vegetables?

Which of these fruits and vegetables have you tried?

Which is/are your favourites?

Is your favourite included in the video?

What is your favourite way to eat these fruits and vegetables?

Activities

Extend vocabulary — make a list describing the fruits and vegetables and what children like about them; for example: sweet, juicy, crunchy, soft, ripe, nutritious, delicious, raw, cooked, bitter, exotic.

Have children draw or write about their favourite fruit or vegetable treat.

Set up a fruit and vegetable market in the classroom using laminated children’s drawings or images cut from magazines; plastic, wooden or paper mache fruit and vegetables, and use it for a variety of activities including sorting and shopping.

Food

Make a fruit salad or fruit kebabs. Invite every child to contribute a piece of fruit. Share it for brain break or morning tea.

Make vegetable soup. Invite children to contribute a vegetable. Serve it with bread or savoury scones, which you could also make, for lunch.

These readilearn resources provide suggestions for other lunch ideas that are easily prepared at school.

How to make a healthy smiley face sandwich is a procedural text with step-by-step instructions that are easy enough for children to follow on their own with the supervision of an adult in a small group. The activity is suitable for use in literacy groups. It could be incorporated into a unit focusing on healthy eating.

Continue reading: Fruit, Vegetables and Food for Thought — Science Week – readilearn

Let’s Meet Alison McLennan and her Hotel for Bees – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Australian author Alison McLennan and her beautiful picture book Hotel for Bees.

About Alison McLennan

Alison McLennan has written three picture books, Hotel for Bees (State Library of Qld 2020), Growing Pains (EK Books 2021) and Great and Small (Storytorch Press, coming October 2022). Her graphic novel, A Flood in the Village, was published by Library For All as part of their natural disaster education series. Her short stories have appeared in the School Magazine and the Spooktakular Stories Anthology. She is a proud member of SCBWI and Qld Writelinks, a mother of two teenagers and a fur baby. She is also a singer and voiceover artist.

About Hotel for Bees

Continue reading: Let’s Meet Alison McLennan and her Hotel for Bees – readilearn

learning about minibeasts at home or at school

Learning about minibeasts at home or at school – #readilearn

Whether learning at home or at school, there is a world of minibeasts for children to explore, inside and outdoors. Regardless of our feelings towards certain species, all are important to our environment and contribute to our lives in different and often unseen ways including pollinating our plants, decomposing waste and providing food for other species. It is fair to say that we need minibeasts more than they need us.

Learning about living things is an important part of the science curriculum for children in their first few years of school. They learn about the features of living things, their needs and their life stages. Studying minibeasts allows for learning in all these areas in a small space over a short amount of time.

At readilearn, we support your teaching and children’s learning about minibeasts with a constantly growing collection of resources. In fact, three new resources were uploaded this week.

Observe and record

An interesting project is to use a magnifying glass to discover the different species of minibeasts that live in and around our classrooms and homes. Much can be learned through observing their behaviour.

The Code for caring explains how to observe while maintaining safety for self as well as the minibeasts.

My Minibeast Diary provides a format and suggestions for recording children’s observations.

Continue reading: Learning about minibeasts at home or at school – readilearn

Meet author Diana Harley and her springtime picture books

Meet author Diana Harley and her springtime picture books – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Diana Harley as we discuss her three beautiful picture books that are perfect for sharing at springtime, or any time.

Here at readilearn, we have quite a fascination with minibeasts, especially butterflies, and have quite a variety of teaching resources that focus on them. Naturally, we are attracted to other resources which encourage children’s interest in minibeasts and the environment.

Diana Harley, Australian picture book author

About Diana

Diana Harley is a writer, author, poet and playwright living and working in the Bega Valley of NSW. Diana has written a number of fiction and non-fiction books for children, has had two adult poetry anthologies published and has won numerous awards for her poems and short stories. Many of her poems and stories have been included in various anthologies.  She has done a few blogs and two of her short plays have been produced and performed in regional NSW. She has run writing workshops for both adults and children and enjoys getting writers writing! She is a chocoholic, loves wedgetail eagles and reading is her favourite hobby.

About the books

Continue reading: Meet author Diana Harley and her springtime picture books – readilearn

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