Thinking Like A Scientist in Sixth Grade
In middle school, it's time for your child to start thinking more like a scientist. Take a peek into the 6th grade science class.
What You Need to Know
Core skills that middle school science programs aim to develop:
- Scientific Inquiry is the most important reason for learning science, to most teachers, with the goal of developing a society in which everyone is capable of effectively exploring and testing ideas, then measuring and evaluating results accurately.
- Reading can be a serious roadblock to success in science class. Even in this class, your child must be able to read and decipher dense materials for key information.
- Lab Work is integral to transferring mere concepts to hands-on experiences to deepen understanding. You'll probably only see the aftermath – write-ups and final calculations – at home.
- Note-taking is crucial to synthesizing material from reading assignments, lab work, and lectures that are simply an occasional must, which means that students have to step the listening skills up a notch.
How You Can Help
- Home can be a natural place for you to help build your child's science skills. When doing dishes, try experimenting with different concentrations of dish soap, or talking about the properties of the water dripping to the floor. Place emphasis on process: “If I do this, what will happen next? How do we know that action is what caused the result?”
- Encourage your child to begin every science reading assignment with a preview of the charts, graphs, pictures, and headings. Have him use those as clues to predict what's coming up in the content of the reading before jumping into the dense text itself.
- This is a great time to start emphasizing the importance of real-life record-keeping and reasons for precision – for instance when following recipes in the kitchen.
- Ask your child if you can see some of his notes from science class. A glance is just about all it takes to know whether your child is having trouble: empty, or scratchy illegible pages indicate a problem. Contact the teacher if your child seems consistently overwhelmed and discouraged.
- Take the time to revel in science at home and in everyday life, such as playing with everyday objects, visiting museums, subscribing to a science magazine, discovering nature, and exploring websites that offer science activities.
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