Monday, 23 February 2015

Unschooling at work - science

This morning began with the idea of travelling to the moon, the idea of building a spaceship out of furniture and blankets. We ran with it for a couple of hours and took out some fun learning resources we have to hand. They were: a book on science experiments, a big box we call the "inventing drawer", paper and pens, batteries, screwdrivers, magnets, LEDs, safety goggles and scissors gave us all we needed. We've been saving broken electrical objects for parts, the kids use all our "adult" tools and they're all in one big box which give loads of inspiration for building things. (there are also some metal chains, old batteries, wires, nuts and bolts etc).

Along the way this morning the kids drew diagrams of circuits and engines they were designing, we made a 3D static electricity model out of paper and cocktail sticks, we discussed batteries, solar power, magnets, built a "solar power engine" (not a working model!), coloured and drew around objects (3 year old), built the actual spaceship and included all the parts we'd designed and built earlier, travelled to the moon and explored it. Along the way there was a bit of origami (me), sharpening of crayons, a stamper stamping the word "MAD", string tied to doorhandles, special scientific names (because our normal names are too boring when we're inventing), some talk of shooting aliens, eating pancakes and anti-gravity waltzing to "The Blue Danube".

This just shows you how much learning can take place without any pre-planned "lesson". Had I started by taking out the science book and suggesting doing an experiment on static electricity it would have been met with groans and probably mutiny. But I worked it into the context, made it alongside them as they made their engines, and they were fascinated and loved having a go themselves. It's also great to see how you can work with a school-age kid and a pre-schooler together and they can do complimentary things towards a common goal. My job was to stay sitting at the table, stay focused on the activity, use the resources myself too and introduce ideas as they came up. As there was so much talk of circuits and powering a ship I'm going to take out the circuit board sets we have tomorrow and test out a few ideas with the kids, making a game of it as we go along. Or maybe we'll go to the playground if it's a nice day. I love the freedom unschooling gives us, no time constraints, no problem if we tangent off to a new idea, the learning is organic and totally child-led. I'm not telling the kids we just learned a load of science, they still think it was a game.

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of exciting projects like this and of homeschooling too but I'm so exhausted just taking care of them and working too that it seems so far away......well done Niamh


A lovely comment makes my day, please share your thoughts! xx