Monday, May 04, 2009

Mr. Wizard in Austin

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.

1 comment:

mary said...

Very fun. I'm a big fan of science. Especially when it involves electricity and dry ice. Are there any kits with dry ice? That's real science.

It seems that Aidan should be ready to work through some of my Physics circuit problems when I visit. We'll move on from the loop to circuits in series and parallel, and then to resistors, ohm's law, and capacitors, of course. Then maybe electromagnetism?