Saturday, March 5, 2016

An Appalling Lack of Curiosity - Virtual Curriculum Fair: Math, Science, Logic

At some point, everythings gonna go south on you...every thing's going to go south and you are going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That's all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem...and you solve the next one... and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home. All right, any questions? ~ Matt Whatney in The Martian

Math, Science and Logic; foundations to Critical Thinking, Discovery and Invention. Our world seems to be suffering from a lack of it (hence the title for this post). Teaching how to think, and how to think critically, is one of our most important jobs as educators. This year's Virtual Curriculum Fair is hosted by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds and Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

We teach the Scientific Method; the Scientific Method is a way to ask and answer scientific questions by making observations and doing experiment. Here's a brief run-down in case you haven't thought about it since 7th grade Science class:

The steps of the scientific method are to:
Ask a Question
Do Background Research
Construct a Hypothesis
Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
Communicate Your Results

I have printed and laminated a colorful Scientific Method chart which we refer to and use for filling out lab reports and discussing scientific experiments in class. This provides everyone ready access to the information and color coding as a simple mnemonic

The Scientific Method is important because it gives us a framework for understanding ideas, hypothesis, conclusions and laws of science. You’ll hear science terms brandied about as if they are fact, when in truth, they are often someones untested hypothesis. If you know Scientific Method, you can recognize the difference between conjecture and conclusion- in other words, you can easily spot a scientific fallacy.

The Scientific Method also provides a solid framework for testing and recording data in a way that is logical, sequential and reproducible. Edison did not just discover the light-bulb but also discovered 400 ways not to make a light-bulb (and several other inventions to boot!). This was possible because he created reproducible experiments and keep good lab notes. Lab notes teach accuracy, neatness, observation and recording skills. 

Good science, the constant search for accurate information, is also examined and replicated by having reliable sources that can be easily accessed. In Challenge A the kids are taught to cite two sources for their weekly science reports, based on APA or MLA style.

As the kids get older, we use textbooks, do lab journals/ group labs and Scientific Research papers (Cub is currently writing a Research Paper on Mars). CC’s Challenge program has taken our passion for science and provided a terrific structure to delve more deeply by doing weekly science reports, creating a Scientific Timeline, doing regular labs with journals and writing semester long research papers. We are loving it! 

 I have given back dollars worth of mis-counted change, as well as having to ask for the same at businesses around the country. Math literacy is waning as people become reliant on calculators; please do your kids a favor and teach them basic math skills!
We drill math facts and do mental math. We're old school that way; repetition, baby. And then games- Board slam, Number Knock Out,Math Challenges, Math Bingo. Number Knock out has been a favorite at our Community Day with teams working more than one board at a time. 

We are also doing far more Math Discussion this year. I assign kids to talk through the 5 Common topics about one of their Math problems each week. The kids have to define every term, tell what it means, state the laws and formulas they’ll use to solve the problem, talk about what they don’t know, think about how they could re-write to problem, etc. before we even talk about solving the problem. When Flower or Cub are stuck on a Math problem at home, the first question I ask is, “What do you see.” This takes them from frustrated to thinking clearly and sequentially about the problem in front of them.  It is challenging and excellent strategic learning to think deeply and broadly about Math, and really any other challenging puzzle.

This year, Flower is learning informal Logic- fallacies- using Fallacy Detective. She is having a blast picking out fallacies in conversations, in talking with others and during the Presidential debates. Next year we will dive in to Formal (symbolic) Logic using Jim Nance’s excellent Introduction and Intermediate Logic by Roman Roads Media, Cub will be tackling Traditional (linguistic) Logic using Martin Cothran’s equally excellent Traditional Logic program published by Memoria Press. This Momma will be working hard to keep up! Praise God for quality video tutorials!
 Golden Grasses How to Teach Math, Logic and Patterns #apologetics #faith #homeschool

Past VCF posts on Logic, Math and Science:
Discovering Patterns

What is the Virtual Curriculum Fair all about? Check out this post! 

Check out my pinterest boards on these topics:
Pinterest Boards: 

(all artwork is from Flower's Science journal this year)
Please visit my blogger buddies, who make the VCF worth reading, year after year!

Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses - Thoughts on Math and Science
Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset  - From Counting to Calculus
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World  - How We Approach Math in This Homeschool Year
Annette @ A Net In Time - Struggling with Math, Loving Science
Annette @ A Net In Time  - Lego Pulleys and Levers
Yvie @ Gypsy Road Hands - On Math with Special Needs Learners
Chelli @ The Planted Trees  - Chemistry Using Living Books
Lisa @ GoldenGrasses  - An Appalling Lack of Curiosity
Edie @ Carter Chaos  - Our Favorite Ways to Study Numbers
Tracey @ A Learning Journey  - Robot Area and Perimeter Art Project
Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life  - Math and Standardized Tests
Jen @ Chestnut Grove Academy  - Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science
Sarah @ DeliveringGrace  - Learning Multiplication Tables
Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom  - Multisensory Multiplication
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break  - Science and Stuff
Kemi Quinn @ Homemaking Organized  - Math in Our Homeschool for a Later Elementary Organized Reader
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory  - Math and Logic - Our Steady Path
Laura @ Four Little Penguins  - Math and Science Love

Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!


Kylie said...

I have Fallacy Detective on my list to check out so glad to hear you are enjoying using that.

annette @ A net in time said...

I like that question "what do you see"... i'll have to remember that with my lad.

Visiting through the VCF.