If following directions is hard for your child, why not turn the tables and teach her how to effectively give instructions? With this fun activity, not only will you be experimenting with giving accurate information, you'll also be teaching your child how to write good scientific procedures that can be reproducible. But it might not be as easy as it sounds!
What You Do:
- With you out of the room, have your child create a model of her own design using the toothpicks, gumdrops, and cup.
- Once your child creates the model, have her write a step-by-step account of how to recreate the model. After she has completed the procedure, have her cover the model so you cannot see it.
- Use your child's written directions and the extra toothpicks and gumdrops to recreate her model. Uncover the model and see how your model compares to your child's!
- Discuss with your child which parts of her procedure were clear to understand and why, and which parts need some more work. If the two models do not look the same, come up with some alternate descriptions together that would have been clearer and easier to reproduce.
- Switch places with your child and try creating your own model and procedure. It's harder than it sounds!
Variation If you don't have toothpicks and gumdrops you can easily substitute any number of materials such as legos, knex, playdoh, or even drawing a picture with crayons.
Lori Stewart taught eighth grade earth science and ninth grade integrated science for four years. Now, she develops science education materials.