Studying the Earth

Teaching Kindergarten through Second Grade science in a co-op setting is wonderfully challenging. It really is a joy to ignite an interest in science and help the children learn more about God's world.

This year, our class has 13 active boys and 6 inquisitive girls. Though they attentively listen during short lectures and demonstrations, they really like the hands on activities and experiments.

Earlier this year, we studied birds and insects. For our current unit, we are studying Geology. Using God's Design for Heaven and Earth: Our Planet Earth, the children have so far learned about Earth's history, glaciers, and Earth's design. Meanwhile, I am collecting ideas for upcoming classes.

During one class, students made glaciers out of flubber. By placing the flubber glaciers on flat cookie sheets, which were covered with rocks (used wax paper to protect cookie sheets), the children observed movement of glaciers. Then, we elevated one end and watched as the glaciers moved downward. Since the flubber moved much slower than we anticipated, it resembled the glaciers slow pace better than we had hoped.

Later, students followed the directions from God's Design for Heaven and Earth: Our Planet Earth, to complete an observation on "The Force of Water." Each student observed liquid water being frozen and the force it exerted on its container. {pictured above} We discussed their surprise findings with much animation. {Love the way young students express their observations!}

In our class last week, I taught the students how the Earth is designed. We completed a worksheet, read a Magic School House book, and made small models of the Earth. Each child followed instructions to create their own model. Once completed, we used dental floss to cut each model in half to reveal the layers of the Earth.

A few years ago, I did this exact project with my daughter. I am pretty sure the idea came from Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space. Since it was a fabulous way to visualize the Inner Core, Outer Core, Mantle, and Crust, I decided to try it with my K-2nd Grade class. They, too, benefited from the hands on activity.

This week, we'll be getting our hands dirty (literally) as we study soil samples and create our own fossils. I wish I had known science could be this much fun when I was in elementary school!

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