5 Reasons to Choose a Hands-On Science Curriculum

I've shared before that science was one subject I really disliked in school that I now find myself enjoying as a homeschooling mom. One of the reasons I think that I didn't like science is because our science- even in elementary school- was not very hands-on. Teaching my own children I've learned to love science. And I especially enjoy using science curricula that is very hands-on.

Why is it so important to have curricula that is hands-on?

Hands-on science curriculum

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When kids have opportunities to actively do something with what they're learning, they listen and understand better.

Let's face it. Science concepts are often dry and dusty. Sometimes explaining a scientific principle can come across as gibberish to a young child- or even an older student. When kids just read or sit and listen to science material read, they can begin to tune out what they're reading or hearing. If they aren't engaging in the material, those dry science facts can go in one ear and out another.

When kids engage in a hands-on activity- an experiment, a project, a demonstration- they move from just hearing and reading to actually being involved. Demonstrating the concepts gives them a way to connect with what they're learning and it can make the learning more relevant and easier to understand.

Some science concepts have to be explained and observed to really make sense.

Science is all about observation. We have the scientific principles that we have and use today because scientists took time to observe and record observations. These principles are based on what has been observed.

Because observation is how these scientific principles came about, students can understand them better through observation. It's one thing to read in technical words about the water cycle. Kids may or may not understand those concepts like "evaporation" or "condensation." But when you replicate the water cycle in a jar, kids can see it happening and understand what it all means.

Hands-on activities engage children with that learning style.

Reading and listening are learning styles. Children who are good at typical school work are often strong in those learning styles. But children who are hands-on learners aren't so good at comprehending information they've only heard or read.

Bringing hands-on activities into the mix gives children with that learning style another way to get information. And any time you can use multiple learning styles to present a concept, it's good because more kids are then able to understand using their learning style strength.

The scientific method is best demonstrated by using it in hands-on activities to answer questions.

All of science revolves around the scientific method. Throughout science education, kids learn the steps of the scientific method and how those steps have led to scientific discoveries. They also learn that when they follow the scientific method, they can test possible answers to a question, and they learn that they can use the scientific method to think through questions they come up with.

The scientific method is best understood when you're using it. Giving kids hands-on opportunities to do experiments gives them opportunities to use the scientific method. Younger children can learn simplistic ways of conducting experiments. And as they get older, students can learn the detailed steps of the scientific method and how to use it.

Hands-on learning is just more fun.

It's a fact: doing is much more fun than just sitting and hearing. Having kids read page after page of science material or having them listen to us read or explain isn't very exciting. But hands-on projects and experiments are fun.

With some science books I've tried to use, I can see the kids' eyes glaze over when I bring out the book to read some lengthy passage. But when I break out a curriculum with lots of hands-on activities, they actually ask to do science.

When you're looking for science curricula, make sure that you're choosing one that is going to involve kids in hands-on activities. Whether it's formal experiment labs for high school students or demonstrations and projects for young children, having a hands-on science curriculum is important...and it will make for a much more interesting and fun science time.

The Christian Kids Explore Science series from Bright Ideas Press has been an excellent choice for our science. It balances reading and workbook activities with hands-on experiments and demonstrations. You can find out more about the books here. 

***Until February 20, 2016, I have a giveaway for your choice of the Christian Kids Explore Science books. You can enter the giveaway here.

Science curriculum giveaway

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