There’s something in each science project for kids of all ages. That’s why science is one of the easiest subjects for multiple-age homeschooling families.
The three steps of the scientific method employed in each science project are easy to adapt for kids of varying ages and skill levels. Start with the three simple steps:
* observe (watch)
* make a hypothesis (ask and speculate)
* experiment (try, test, and observe)
How Children of Multiple Ages Can Work Together
There are several styles of working together on a shared project.
* All children working together with equal contributions and participation at each stage of the scientific method
* Children working together on separate parts of the project, side-by-side or in the same general area
* Children working in turn, one-on-one with a parent while the others wait for their turn, continuing work on observation or testing
* Each child working alone in self-guided activities with occasional check-ins and sharing with other family members
Choose your subject. It might be a broad topic of interest such as woolly bear caterpillars, mud, magnets, weather, etc. It might be a question. How does a caterpillar turn into a moth? How does dirt become mud? Why is this mud gray? How do clouds form? What causes rain? How do magnets work?
Simple observation of a subject is the same with kids of all ages. Simply watch. Pay attention to the details. Think about what you’re seeing.
Ask a Question and Make a Hypothesis
Speculate on what the answer to your questions. Make a guess based on your observations. Engage your children in conversation. The depth of their questions will vary depending on their ages and interest, but everyone can take part in the conversation. Everyone can ask questions and speculate on the answers based on what they’ve seen.
Older kids may benefit from the fresh perspectives of the younger, while the younger children listen to the ideas of the older children and adults.
Test Your Hypothesis
Decide how your going to test your question to see if your guess is right. You might pick up a science kit, design your own experiments, or use an online simulation. In either case, you can allow children of all ages to participate at their ability level. Young children should be protected from harmful ingredients or tools, but they can still watch and participate as assistants.
Throughout the process of scientific observation, speculation, and experimenting, a family of multiple ages can enjoy a science project together at the same time or in turns, each adding to the shared experience and outcome.