Ask more questions

 What I love most about my kids’ new environmental science teacher isn’t that she knows all the answers.  It’s that she asks all the questions.  Even better, she encourages them to ask question.  As they hike down the nature trails, they stop to examine wildflowers, caterpillars, spider webs, whatever is on the frontburner.  She points out features and she asks them questions about what they observe, about form and function.  Then she encourages them to ask more questions.  Science is discovery.  Science is curiosity.
Their homework assignment this week is to find four native Texas plants, and ask four questions about each one.  Apparrently, finding the answers can be dealt with later.  Asking the questions is the key starting place.
This experience was on my mind when this quote and article were posted my way.
“Teaching is not about answering questions but about raising questions – opening doors for them in places that they could not imagine.” ~ Yawar Baig

The author of the article is Muslim and gives credit to Allah for nature, so clearly our religious beliefs differ exceedingly.  And he seems to speak to public school teachers rather than homeschoolers, so our situations differ as well.  It is his approach to teaching that appeals to me, his concern for sparking curiosity and encouraging a love of learning.  This much we have in common.


Dropping Eggs

We didn’t dye a single egg this Easter.  Didn’t put candy inside any plastic ones, or search for cleverly hidden ones.  My “babies” are too old.  Sigh.  I did purchase a few bags of candy and throw them at my teenagers, if that counts.

So today…we dropped eggs off the roof instead.  All in the name of science.

My youngest (14) is totally enraptured by the whole idea of an egg drop competition.  He researched online, consulted multiple family members, and brainstormed multiple designs, each more complicated than the last.  The prospect of climbing on the roof each time to test a new design holds a certain appeal as well.

Our particular contest doesn’t limit the types of construction materials for the egg drop container, but it grades on a formula that rewards light weight and few parts, as well as a bonus for accurately hitting a target.  So complicated designs are out.

After a few unsuccessful design attempts, this morning Sean stumbled upon the perfect design which requires only one piece: his pajama pants.  No kidding.  He wrapped his pj pants around an egg and used the attached tie to fasten it.  Perfectly accurate.  Lowest possible pieces.  Not overly heavy.

Sometimes, science is comfortable.

Bonus, I let him climb the roof again.  Why not?