The Lives Scientific (and Practical)
We have had a rush of interest in The Life Scientific in class. Follow-on research on eyes, from our work on the human body, led to an interest in experiments on seeing colour, creating pin hole cameras and using water as a lens. Botany research led to small group looking into how much fruit is water (for an apple, it was 46%) - but which left us growing either penicillin or botulism, as opposed to having a dehydrated apple! The microscope and magnifying lenses are hard working pieces of kit in our classroom. Using the Dyson challenge cards in physics and engineering, a small group laboured long to create a working marble run-and the look of eventual triumph speaks volumes.
Not only does science provide significant learning in and of itself - including experiment design, setting up a control, where appropriate, making conclusions etc but the mere fact of working in a group provides the need to make joint decisions, listen, try out, negotiate ways forward.
In a Montessori nursery, the exercises of practical life are so very important to support children's development of independence and the ability to do things for themselves. Yes, in elementary, the children take on responsibility for caring for the environment of the classroom and the garden, working out rotas and contributing their work for the common good - and - science experiments also become our practical life activities. Things collected and used need to be prepped, cleaned and returned.
Some of children have started work on making grids to study sections of the flora and fauna in our field. End of term activities have deferred this work - the actual study will take place in the autumn term now - because the making of the grids took far longer than anticipated. Time management and planning are also then useful experiences gained from prepping for and conducting scientific experiments.