Math and Science All Around Us: Everyday Inquiry for Brains of All Ages
At Oak Meadow, they love to encourage students in active, experiential learning. Here are just a few of their ideas of how math and science skills can be explored and expanded in the natural course of daily experiences.
Math and Science in the Garden
Preschoolers: count and sort seeds; loosen soil to prepare the seed bed and observe the insects living in the soil.
K-2nd grade: measure the seed bed and how far apart seeds should be planted; keep a watering chart; observe soil erosion from watering and adjust the soil to prevent water run-off.
3rd-5th grade: draw each phase from seed to harvest; collect and dry seeds for next year; record the number of seeds produced per individual fruit/vegetable.
6th-8th grade: calculate the ratio of seed planting depth to plant spacing (or seed size to how long it takes to sprout) and look for patterns; measure and chart seed growth.
High School: study soil composition and determine soil amendments; chart sun/shade ratio in each part of the garden; design a planting chart based on soil and sun/shade needs; calculate yield per plant type and plant yield per square foot.
Math and Science in the House
Preschoolers: count and sort while table setting and doing laundry; divide indoor pot-bound plants or take cuttings to root new plants.
K-2nd grade: measure ingredients in a recipe; compare baking yeast bread vs. quick bread.
3rd-5th grade: read and follow a recipe; find out how many walnuts need to be cracked to get ½ cup of nuts or how many lemons to juice for a gallon of lemonade.
6th-8th grade: double and half recipes; experiment with how batter consistency affects pancakes; compare unit pricing when grocery shopping; calculate price of store-bought vs. homegrown veggies.
High School: create a household budget based on household spending in the prior three months; experiment with recipe substitutions; calculate cost savings of line drying clothes vs. using a dryer.
Math and Science Out and About
Preschoolers: build a sandcastle and then pour water on it; dam up a stream; count the number of steps it takes to walk across the yard, and then the number of steps it takes to run across; make rock towers.
K-2nd grade: make and fly a kite; make the longest tunnel possible in the sand or dirt; build a three-sided structure, a four-sided structure, a five-sided structure and keep adding sides (you can use sticks, scrap lumber, dirt and bark, etc.); make a dog agility course (this can be used for kids, too!).
3rd-5th grade: count the number of shells, rocks, insects, etc. found in a three foot square section of beach, forest, or meadow and compare to another three foot section somewhere else; find out how long you have to stand under a sprinkler or in the rain before your hair or clothes start dripping.
6th-8th grade: design and build a tree house; figure out how far your bike travels in each gear with ten pedal rotations; build a campfire (if you don’t have a fire pit, make one or use your sandbox.
High School: make a business plan for earning money doing something you enjoy; train a dog or horse; make a solar oven and dry fruit in it; volunteer for beach or river cleanup, trail maintenance, or at an animal shelter.
Math and Science at Night
Preschoolers: take a walk with a flashlight (and a friend); count lightning bugs or bats; listen to the night sounds.
K-2nd grade: make animal shadows on the wall with a flashlight; watch the stars come out; turn on an outside light and see what kinds of moths it attracts.
3rd-5th grade: take a walk in the moonlight; look for nocturnal animals in your yard (or signs of them the next day); map nighttime sounds (which direction are they coming from) and try to figure out the source.
6th-8th grade: keep track of sunrise, sunset, moon rise and moon phase; look at the night sky through a telescope; find the dew point.
High School: map a meteor shower (how many sightings and in which quadrants of the sky); measure and chart the movement of the stars; observe animals coming to a water source at dusk or on a moonlit night.
Thanks Oak Meadow!