On a RadioShack visit recently I discovered a display of ScienceWiz kits. I bought two to bring to Austin on our trip this weekend, one for Aidan called "Electricity" and the other for Felicity call "Inventions." We had such a packed weekend that, to my dismay, I did not have a chance to do the Inventions kit with Felicity, but Aidan and I did get a chance to work through the Electricity kit. It was a big success, and I would heartily recommend these little project kits. I am hoping that Walter will be able to work with Felicity on the other kit and give us a report.
These are really good kits! The author is Penny Norman, PhD., and the book that accompanies the parts of the kit is very well done - not only well illustrated but structured in a way to lead the student through a step-by-step illumination process. For example, in electricity, we begin with the concept of a "loop," and the kit piece is a red loop from a pot holder. Dr. Norman has the student form it into various shapes (circle, oval, square, triangle), making the point that it is always a "loop" regardless of the shape. Then she moves to the idea of an electrical loop, and the next project is a battery, some wires with alligator clips and a light bulb. We consider how, when we make a loop with these materials, we have a lighted bulb - later in the narratives she will call this a "loop circuit."
This morning Aidan demonstrated to his mother how something is "on" and "off." For "on," he put his arms in a circle, with one hand holding the other, He said, "Mom, this is 'on'." Then he let go his hands, but keeping his arms otherwise in a circle as before, he said, "Mom, this is 'off'." Four years old. Awesome!
If God gives me another life, then I think I am going to ask him to be a middle-school science teacher.