Monday, January 21, 2013

Science our way

This post is part of the 2013 Virtual Curriculum Fair at Homeschooling heart and mind. The theme this week is Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science

We were fortunate to be able to explore a lot  of our Science curriculum at Museums and parks this school year. An unplanned 6 week stay in Houston’s Museum district meant that some amazing lessons were right on our doorstep.  

It sounds like a dream situation . Unfortunately, to begin with, I didn’t view it like that. We were travelling with the portable curriculum and missing our workboxes. We certainly planned to visit some of the museums and the zoo but it seemed too costly to visit all of them. The original plan was to stick to our my lesson schedule.   DH (the voice of reason) encouraged us to go everywhere while we were here & the kids were really excited . 

Note booking in Considering God's creation
I was scared we would fall behind. Crazy? Yep!

We homeschool so we have flexibility and I was trying to stick to some imaginary timeline!  Long story short, God gave me a jab in the ribs (long story) and reminded me that our stay was temporary. Humbled, I went through the science and history we had planned for the year and found that a lot of it related to the exhibits we could see. A local family, we met, also forwarded us an email listing regular free days for the Museums -even the zoo! Most museums' websites also had educational resources we could do while we were before, during and after our visits. This became our new lesson plan along with daily Math and Language.

Most of the visits were on free or discount days so the cost to see and learn so much was minimal. We knew we could go back the following week so we weren’t worried about seeing everything in one visit.

Some highlights
Houston Zoo:
During one visit we studied Elephant habitats and Miss K wrote a report. Mini Piwi was excited to see the baby elephants after a week of E is for Elephant Pre K activities

We also watched a chick hatch: Wow!
During another visit we met a long horn up close

Houston Museum of Science and Nature
The Piwis loved seeing all the crystals and Minerals ...

 Making clouds
 and waves...
 Presenting the weather
and entertaining the security team in the Dino hall...pretending to be Sloth-zilla
During our second visit we were identifying Carnivores and Herbivores in the Dino Hall. Mini Piwi was doing her D is for Dinos week and Miss K was studying predator/prey relationships and food chains.
Cockrell Butterfly house
Miss K worked on her Insect note booking pages from Considering Gods creation and Mini Piwi was all about C for Caterpillar the week we visiting the amazing Butterfly house in the HMNS.
Houston Space center.
I made up Space lapbooks in anticipation of this visit! Piwi Daddy was able to come with us and it was definitely a learning experience for everyone. One of the highlight was touching an moon rock and another was seeing Space shuttle Discovery.
Childrens' Museum
One warm afternoon the Piwi's learnt about the properties of water
We came back again to spend time in the lab

Health Museum:
A diagram is one thing but to be able to walk around a giant model of a brain, heart or eyeball is definitely an awesome way to learn!

Downtown Aquarium
Even Thanksgiving dinner was a Field trip....The Piwis liked the little aquarium on site but the huge tanks in the restaurant itself were amazing. The waiters were full of information about the species of Fish swimming around us. I admit this visit did not fall under the minimal cost category. We tend to do something to find different ways to make holidays special for the kids since we are away from extended family.
 looking at their new Moray eel buddy.
There is certainly no doubt that that Piwi's learnt plenty during our stay in the Museum district. I even learnt to relax and use the resources we are given. It also made DH & I more pro active in finding places to take the Piwi's. We no longer have the Zoo or Museums so close so we are more creative. If I can't find a field trip with local homeschool groups I try to organize one. We have found many Ice cream stores, yogurt shops & Pet shops are open to tours and talks. All you need to do is ask. There are also several websites to find field trips.