Tag Archives: science

Genetics and Evolution

We had an amazing session at our home ed group this week. A friend of one of the parents came in and gave us a talk about genetics and evolution, and mapping the human genome.

It was the best explanation of Evolution I’ve had and cleared up some of the things that I wasn’t sure about too. So much recent science… a relatively new field.. of mapping the human genome, and now other animals too and the comparison of those and how important technology has been in this, needing fast computing speeds to help analyse so much data, but how even that is still not fast enough for the amount of data and how long it takes to plough through looking for patterns and changes in the chains of DNA. (My biology knowledge is appalling, so excuse me if I haven’t used a correct term!!)

Having said how bad my biology knowledge is though, I was inspired by his passion and found it very interesting. I’m much more a chemistry and physics fan, but I could see the fascination of his subject.

He works at Southampton University and is researching motor neurones disease, so as well as a run down of evolution and genetics, he also explained what they know about motor neurones disease and what they don’t know. It was all fascinating and what was going to be a 45min talk turned into 1.5 hrs of discussion and questions because everyone was so engaged. Apparently he was very nervous and doesn’t have much to do with children… you wouldn’t have known it!!

I’ve not even  mentioned R. I was hooked and engrossed, at the end it looked like she was too. Usually the lure of the woods outside calls to her, but she was there asking lots of questions at the end too.

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Science at the Library

We had a science session at the library which I ran.. I had a few ideas ready but decided to wing it depending on who came along. Initially a few children started a game of chess, others joined in helping with advice on tactics etc, then when that finished I offered the science idea.

It went well (these things don’t always)

I got each child to be an H or an O and then we had O2 molecules or H2 molecules. Then we did H2O molecules with the H children holding hands with the O children and acting out how things worked. We talked about elements and molecules and the periodic table and then we built some molecules with a kit I have.

This led on to talking about carbon and carbon chains and organic chemistry, and diamonds and graphite. The session went really quickly and the kids were all engaged.

A couple of friends then came back to play, but we also did a bit of algebra because they’ve been doing some at home and so have we, so the kids showed each other (and parents) what sort of methods they’d been looking at. We’d been looking at working out the nth term. They’d be looking more at factors, so it was a good swap of ideas.

There was then lots of playmobil play, and some time playing in the garden as well.

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Science Museum

L had an inset day, so S took the day off too and we all went to London on the train. We went to the Science Museum. We had taken the girls before and hadn’t thought it was that long ago… turns out it was when they were 3 and 1!! I think it is because we’ve been to the Natural History museum a couple of times in the mean time and also the V&A and the British Museum and the Museum of London, so we’d not managed a trip back to the Science Museum. We also top up by going to what was ‘Intech’ outside Winchester, which has lots of science hands on stuff. We don’t get into London that often, and one museum a day is enough for us, so it limits how many it is possible to cover. There are still some that I’ve not been to that I’d like to. Any suggestions?? Do leave a comment.

So 9 years since we’d been! So it was all new to them, and with their knowledge now, so much of it meant that much more to them both, as they both had some knowledge of most things we looked at and could put them into context with other things we’ve seen.

Apollo 10 (I think)
Apollo 10 (I think)
Aeroplanes
Aeroplanes

We had a walk round most of it, and did loads of the hands on stuff. R tried making some good electric circuits, so we’re going to have a look at that more at home as it wasn’t something we’ve done much of.

L had a good look at some of the renewable energy stuff, it is far more in-depth and interesting than the bits they are covering in Geography at school, which L has done over and over again previously, so it was good to see some better info about Government targets for 2020 and all the different options available, with interactive games you could run your own city on & choose options for it.

We enjoyed all the interactive quizzes about genes and personality and your body, and also changing our voices and faces to look or sound male.

We all had a go at directing baggage at an airport too, which was harder than it looked! Though I did get congratulated by another mum for managing some of it, as she said she’d had a go because I’d made it look ok and she couldn’t work it at all.

We then went to Covent Garden and saw some excellent street performers, followed by tea at Five Guys Burgers, which S was very excited about as we’d tried it in America, and this has just opened here. It was great… though highly inadvisable for anyone with a peanut allergy!! Home quite late, but an excellent day out.

You may be interested in Science Sessions

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Talk, talk and talk

Today has consisted of a lot of talking. We watched a bit of a documentary about Rainforests… it is a long one so we’ll save the rest for another day… then we had long talks about why areas of rainforest get cleared, types of sustainable wood, why the forest would take so long to grow back and the stages it would go through first before returning to anything like its original state.

We watched a few ASAP science videos, again with plenty of discussion… I love the ideas that R comes up with, so thoughtful and innovative.

We watched: The 6 craziest extinctions ever

Along with a few others… it is hard to stop at one because there is always another one lined up that’s looks interesting.

Some will not be suitable for younger children…. but that is usually clear from the title.

We talk so much about everything. I’m sure that this is one of our most effective educational tools. We take time to talk about things as they come up, and we look up things together, often heading off at a tangent. It doesn’t feel like learning, it is just living and having fun… and as a side effect of that we all seem to learn a lot too!

You may also like: Taking the Struggle out of Education

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