Starting Children on Science
Excerpted from Science Their Way by Michael Elsohn Ross in the NAEYC journal, Young Children, based on his book Sandbox Scientists (Chicago Review Press 1995)
by Michael Elsohn Ross
Young children are scientists at play. While they're baking mud pies or building worm playgrounds, you may catch them conducting playful experiments. If you listen, in addition to giggling you may hear an exchange of observations or well thought-out theories. In their early encounters with nature, children develop ideas about our world based on experiences with real things.
Young children love to stick their noses into nature, but they need your help. You can support their explorative play by giving children the time, space and equipment needed for investigating the world around them. Science doesn't require direct instruction, but it does take practice. Your most important role is to encourage, rather than direct, the children's explorations.
Too much direction can dampen a child's budding interest in science and nature. Activities with lots of choices will allow her to follow her own paths of inquiry. When you give a young child choices in how he experiences science, you'll be treated to a kaleidoscope of unique and meaningful explorations.
Tools are important too. If you give young children a wide array of equipment, they can pursue many different investigations. Watch the children exploring, and you may observe them pausing to search for the right tool, such as a magnifying glass or a stethoscope. By itself, each tool helps a child focus on a particular avenue of exploration. A child with a magnifying lens is bound to look closely at things, while a child with a mirror may end up playing with light.
Another valuable way to encourage young children's interest in science is seizing the moment. On rainy days, children can investigate earthworms and puddles. During a snowstorm, bundle them up to explore the crystals in snowflakes. A walk in the park may reveal hidden caterpillars or sparkling rocks.
Beaches, woods, parks, backyards and even vacant lots are paradise for a child explorer. When you supply young children with a variety of materials and tools, when you help them grow gardens or take in small critters as visitors, you are sowing adventures. It doesn't cost much money. It doesn't need to be dangerous or messy. You just need the time and place.
One of the best things about science for young children - and about childhood as a whole - is the joy of wondering. Why? How? Where? When? As an adult, you may want to jump in and give the right answers, but if you let go of that impulse, you too may be immersed in the wonder. By sharing your thoughts as a partner, not the source of all knowledge, you can participate in the children's ponderings. Join in the wonder and go where it takes you!
DEADLINE: Civic Education Grants
From: Frank H. Mackaman
The Dirksen Congressional Center
DEADLINE: MAY 1, 2002
The Dirksen Congressional Center invites applications for grants totaling $50,000 in 2001 2002 to help teachers, curriculum developers, and others improve the quality of civics instruction, with priority on the role of Congress in our federal government. Areas of interest include designing lesson plans, creating student activities, and applying instructional technology in the classroom.
Teachers (4th through 12th grades), community and junior college faculty, and college and university faculty are eligible as are teacher-led student teams and individuals who develop curriculum. Priority will be given to the following disciplines: history, government, social studies, political science, and education.
Institutions and organizations are not eligible. Inter-institutional consortia and other groups of individual may apply, but grant funds may not be used to defray indirect costs or overhead expenses. The funds are intended solely to produce "deliverables" of use to classroom teachers.
Preliminary proposals must be submitted by no later than May 1, 2002. Complete information about eligibility and application procedures, may be found at The Center's Web site -- http://www.pekin.net/dirksen
/grantmichelciviced.htm. The Center does not provide an application form. You may find it helpful to review the sample grant proposal at -- http://www.pekin.net/dirksen
/grantmichelcivicsample.htm. Frank Mackaman is the program officer firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center, named for the late Senate Minority Leader Everett M. Dirksen, is a private, non-partisan, nonprofit research and educational organization devoted to the study of Congress and its leaders. The Center created the Michel Civic Education Grants to fund practical classroom strategies to improve the quality of teaching and learning about civics, with a particular emphasis on the role of Congress in the federal government. The goal of education in civics, we believe, is informed, responsible participation in political life by competent citizens. Current levels of political knowledge, political engagement, and political enthusiasm leave much to be desired. Part of the solution rests in better instructional practices.
Frank H. Mackaman
The Dirksen Congressional Center
301 South 4th Street, Suite A
Pekin, IL 61554
The World in Lights
From: Marisa Sgueglia
Check the link below...This is really a sight to behold!
The image is a panoramic view of the world from the new space station. It is a night photo with the lights clearly indicating the populated areas. You can scroll East-West and North-South. Note that Canada's population is almost exclusively along the U.S. border. Moving east to Europe, there is a high population concentration along the Mediterranean Coast. It's easy to spot London, Paris, Stockholm and Vienna. Check out the development of Israel compared to the rest of the Arab countries.
Note the Nile River and the rest of the "Dark Continent". After the Nile, the lights don't come on again until Johannesburg. Look at the Australian Outback and the TransSiberian Rail Route. Moving east, the most striking observation is the difference between North and South Korea. Note the density of Japan.
What a piece of photography. It is an absolutely awesome picture of the Earth taken from the Boeing built Space Station last November on a perfect night with no obscuring atmospheric conditions.
Click here: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/