The Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, has a great two-level museum of earth science, free to enter. Mainly it’s a collection of exotic and interesting minerals, with some fossils, mining equipment, and other items thrown in.Continue reading “Golden’s Mines Museum of Earth Science”
I love Steve Spangler‘s science shows. More importantly, my five-year-old loves them. Recently I had a chance to talk with Spangler about his work, his views on science education, and his professional response to the pandemic. (My child joined for a few minutes!)
For more details, see the podcast show page for the episode.
I really love the Heinemann “InfoSearch” science series; unfortunately, the books are no longer in print. You might be able to pick up some of them used, though, as through Amazon or eBay.
Each book is 32 pages and filled with solid information, simple experiments, and historical context. The pages are laid out nicely in full color.
If I find another in-print series I like as well I’ll write about it; for now I feel fortunate that I was able to collect ten books from this series. My five-year-old loves them.
David Attenborough’s 1979 Life on Earth (paid link) takes readers on an amazing journey through the history of life and its varieties today. The book (of which many used copies are available) contains many remarkable full-color photos of living creatures, making it accessible even to younger children.Continue reading “Reading Life on Earth”
The Carson LED pocket microscope is, for the money (less than $14), the single-best science tool I’ve purchased (available on Amazon—paid link). After using a clunky old microscope with a mirror, the new microscope is a dream. I popped in a AA battery to power the light and immediately got great results. It “only” offers 120x magnification, but for kid use it’s perfect. Plus it’s cheap enough that I won’t worry about it getting broken, so it will be great for backyard and camping use.Continue reading “A Pocket LED Microscope Is an Amazing Learning Tool”
Magnetism and electricity are strange and amazing forces. How can one object act on another object at a distance without any apparent intermediary contact? If I blow a piece of paper, I act on the paper via the breeze I create. But magnets do surprising and nonintuitive things. Although young children are not ready for the full theoretical basis of electromagnetism (I’m not even ready for the full basis), with some basic supplies they can explore how magnets and electricity operate in the world.Continue reading “Fun with Magnets and Electricity”
If you’re looking for a creepy science lesson, check out parasitism in nature.
There’s a type of fungus that takes over an ant and causes the ant to crawl up a branch and latch on, where the fungus grows and spreads. Different types of fungus can attack different animals.
National Geographic has a short video about this.Continue reading “Parasitism in Nature”
Elsewhere I’ve discussed some science video programs that my child and I really like. Here I want to list some fun one-off science videos we’ve found. (I’ll update this page over time.)
How a Piston Works
The piston in a gasoline engine is a wonderful example of the conversion of chemical energy to motion. Good videos on this include those from Toyota of Orlando, Automotive Basics, and Yasha Verma.
The History of Steel
Jason Crawford gives an hour talk on the subject.
A Five-Minute History of Concrete
Jason Crawford gives a great five-minute history of concrete (embedded in a longer video; I’m included the appropriate time stamp for the start point).
Parasitism in Nature
I collected a variety of videos on this.
Like many parents, I have struggled with how much screen time to allow my child. What I’ve settled on is tightly limiting “junk” TV and videos but allowing moderate amounts of quality videos. At this point I do not merely tolerate screen time; I actively welcome it as an important contribution to my child’s education. Here I want to briefly review several high-quality science series that my five-year-old absolutely loves.
Mystery Doug is a series of over a hundred science videos produced by Doug Peltz and the team at Mystery Science. The videos are available at no charge through YouTube and Mystery Science’s web site. When viewed through the web site, which (I think) requires free registration, the core videos accompany supplementary materials.Continue reading “Great Science Video Series”
I’m going to provide fewer links for the material for grades 1–8 than I did for preschool and kindergarten. I’ll still walk you through the material and link to the student readers that I find valuable.Continue reading “Core Knowledge Free Materials for Grades 1 to 8”