Elementary schoolchildren learn best with hands-on activities. Abstract math and science concepts are ideally learnt with project-based lessons. In the book, "Teaching with the Brain in Mind," Eric Jensen found that children's brains develop through stimulation and experiences and learn most effectively through active manipulation and experimentation. Assign primary school projects about math, biology, chemistry and engineering to help children learn effectively.
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Math for elementary schoolchildren should begin with pattern-making activities. Using multicoloured pattern blocks, children can repeat patterns with the shapes and colours. Clap out patterns for the children to repeat and ask children to create their own patterns for the others. Another math project is to read a thermometer everyday and graph the temperature on a coordinate graph. The children will learn about graphs and measurements.
Biology is the study of life. Children can learn about biology by planting seeds. Using small pots, children can plant different types of seeds and watch them grow. The students should be responsible for daily watering and observation. If there is enough room, a small garden can be created outside. Another experiment with potted plants would be to place three potted plants with the same seeds and soil in different locations. One should be outside in the sun, one can be placed in the classroom, and one could be put inside a dark closet. Water all the plants exactly the same and check each pot's growth.
Primary school students can learn chemistry with simple projects. One experiment would be placing a tooth into different liquids, such as soda and water. If a baby tooth is not available, a seashell can be substituted. Another chemistry project is to grow crystals inside a glass jar. Boil water and stir in about one cup of sugar. Place the solution into a glass jar with a string hanging inside attached to a pencil. Check daily for crystal growth.
Engineering is all about building, using science and math concepts. Elementary school students can learn about engineering by making their own magnifying glass. Children should fill glass jars with water and screw the lids tight. The glass jar should be placed on newspaper on its side and the letters should look magnified. Different types of jars should be used for comparison. Another engineering project is to measure how strong an eggshell dome is. A raw egg should be carefully cut so only the top portion of its dome shell remains. Place books on top to measure how much weight it can support.
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