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The joy of teaching kids relies on tapping into their way of exploring the world. Play is a way of being and kids are experts at playing. Play is motivating. Kids play to play. Play is a way of embracing uncertainties and exploring possibilities. All these are characteristics of a scientist and a person engaging in creativity and thinking.
But can young kids be scientists? Can kids add any knowledge and understanding?
Science is about playing games and making puzzles. But it is also about discovering that there are no “right answers”. In a project, schoolchildren aged 8-10 suggested questions that they wanted to answer and they designed an experiment about bees, colours and flowers.
The kids asked “What if” questions, which is a great way to explore a subject.
- What if… we could find out if they prefer warm or cold nectar?
- What if… we could find out if they could follow a route of colour?
- What if… we could find out if some bees could learn faster than others?
- What if… we could find out how many colours they could remember?
The kids analysed the data. The figures were drawn in crayons and the paper has sentences like. . .
“Once upon a time. . .”
“Then we put the bees into the fridge (and made bee pie;-))”
And the kids made a truly unique finding. The results was published s in a scientific magazine (it took some time to get it published but it was published).
‘We discovered that bumble-bees can use a combination of colour and spatial relationships in deciding which colour of flower to forage from. We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done before. (Children from Blackawton)”.
This idea can be used to suit your subject, the age of the children. Creative teaching is about being brave and not knowing the answer yourself. A think dive into a subject where you explore a subject by providing thinking tools and support to encourage children to play with their ideas. Everyone can discover something new.
Listen to this video with Beau Lotto (the first minutes is about perception, Beau talks about the project after around 3 minutes).
To download the Blackawton Bees paper, click here
Read more about “What if” questions
Photo: “Kid Holding Board For Writing” by Stuart Miles