Living Things Grow and Change: Seeds and Plants
There are many ways that parents can assist children with science experiences with seeds and plants. First, they can encourage scientific thinking by asking open-ended questions and allowing time for children to formulate the answers. They can also foster the skills of science by inviting young eyes and fingers to notice small details as they take a walk through the park, helping children to put things in groups based on their characteristics, testing children’s ideas about how the world works, and encouraging children to quantify the world around them (National Science Teachers Association, 1999).
On the specific topic of seeds and plants, parents may encourage children to explore their backyards or a neighboring lot or field for seeds, leaves, and other plant growth. Children may also make collections that would serve as the basis of a minimuseum. Teachers may also create science bags or backpacks to take home with simple experiments or suggestions for cooking experiences.
The U.S. Department of Education has published a book for parents by Nancy Paulu, Helping Your Child Learn Science. This small parent-friendly volume is full of simple activities that parents can do with their children to enhance experiences with science. It is based on a hands-on, discovery approach.
Several websites are appropriate for parents and children learning together. See American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Parents Page, Education: Kids and Parents, www.aaas.org/ and Anywhere Science Activities, Plants, www. peepandthebigwideworld.com/activities/.
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