The introduction to the Science subject at Primary 3 level has taken some of us to prescribe regularly to Dequadin Lozenges (for sorethroat & screaming fest during revision) and for some others who aren’t allergic take to aspirin…
Like some of us who are allergic to Science & if it had been ages since you picked up a Science book, you may be taken aback at how in depth the subject covers. Yes… even for P3-ers. As the shock slowly translates to playing catch up with the topics, some children are taken by the collar to sit, read, memorize, underline, (etc).
If you’re as surprised & appalled as I am; at how the children can memorize those Justin Bieber songs soo easily and yet can’t get the keywords and the facts into their *___________* (fill in your own blanks orh ), then welcome to the club. *headbanging*
In the spirit of sharing and so as not to frighten the noobies (to Primary School Science) *evil laugh*… here are some ways i did to help my child study smart. If you are at your wits end and wish you could try anything as long as your child can “absorb”… here are just some ideas if you haven’t already done it that is. Hee.
But be warned… i slept on my netbook three times while trying to pen this sharing down! LOL!
Each child is different. For that reason alone, we need to understand they display traits unique to their own. In-built in them are a few (or sometimes just one) ways how children learn best. These are called learning styles. More than parents realize, learning styles help children to learn better… not just learn more.
Begin by just sitting down and try to analyze how your child learns best. As a parent, you are the best person who knows your child’s unique character at the back of your hand. Focus on your child’s strengths instead of always reiterating their weaknesses to boost some self-esteem. Don’t overdo though (compliments), but pump in those extra words of encouragement when you can sense the motivation or the drive wanes.
As Science is very broad a topic to cover, consider breaking down the contents into smaller chunks so that revision objectives are set to an ideal achievable goal… something within reach… something more bite sized. Try not to cram too much information restoration in one sitting, if you can. To achieve so, time for doing Science revision should be spread out so that there can be time to revise on other subjects as well… and also time for the to rest and also be a kid.
Do you know how your child learns best?
Some clues…. If your child is great at working those puzzles, dreams sometimes, inclined to arts, good with manipulatives…. now they could be excellent visual learners.
Being visual learners in Science context, they will for example… only know what a magnet is when they get to see a magnet. (If they don’t already know what a magnet is) If you don’t own a magnet, at least draw the child one (if you can). These type of learners need to see to understand. Here are a few we have. 🙂 Good thing was, these magnets aren’t pricey too. *wink*
For a child who loves to draw or is already a budding artist, he/she can try to learn/revise using mind mappin’ ways. A parent (QuiteKSMum) has reignited the way i understand my daughter. She introduced to us a very graphic book that encourages and provokes the mind to think in pictorial ways which may be unknown to us. Why did i say reignited… cos during creative writing lessons back then, the language coach covered mind mapping and i remember i did really swell… cos i could draw hence it helped me relate better (to writing those stories). I armed myself with an arsenal of fanciful stationery for our maiden project together (DD1 and i) slowly but interestingly… it worked out great! I dedicate this re-channelling of energy that helped my daughter learn to dearest QuiteKSMum.. *cheers* Once i find where DD1 keeps it (the project), i’d put it up here to share what we did. 😉
Found one of it. Here’s one she did on her own during her free time… not finished tho. To her it’s like doodling and not studying. Hee..
If your child is a do-er… a kinaesthetic learner, you can help escalate your child’s interest in Science by organizing your own Science fair at home. If your child gets the facts to the topics you are revising correctly, they’re invited to work on a project for your Home Science Fair. What better way than getting them to do it themselves… from research… to process… to result.
Magnets like these (pictures will be up soon, sorry) are available at Harris and Popular and even quaint little shops many tend to overlook. What better way to learn than to get down and do it? I bought her a few magnet kits and told her the first thing was to familiarize with the characteristics of magnets and what it does and so on……. that was the difficult part. Cos with her, memorizing ain’t exactly her cup of tea. Or rather she doesn’t want this kinda tea. Blaah.. Not good with lengthy notes.. *yawn*.. but i ain’t gonna just do nothin’…
The Ein’s O comes with an instruction booklet suggesting how some experiments can be done step by step using the items that come in the box. Here’s one.
MAGNETIC LEVITATION EXPERIMENT
1. Tie the string to a paperclip.
2. Tape the other end of the string onto the centre of the card.
3. Now hold the bar or horseshoe magnet over the paper clip without touching it. Try to bring it up into the air and move it around. Make sure that the magnet does NOT touch the paperclip.
The box comes with a small pencil and thin notepad for jotting down observations of the experiment done. At the end of the experimentation, there’s an explanation / conclusion to it. For the above experiment it states…
The paperclip is made of metal and so it is attracted to the magnet that you hold above it. However, the paperclip is being tied to the card and cannot touch the magnet. That is why it appears suspended in the air. Once you remove the magnet, the paperclip falls back down to the card.
Now, if you think your child does not manage lengthy notes very well.. try mnemonics. While memorizing does little unless the child is trained to also use analytical skills, especially when it comes to such questions (open-ended ones the worst)… facts are still facts. Rather than not know anything, we can slowly work the child’s brain to remember as much information using a fun method of coming up with mnemonics themselves.
I got her a small pocket book from Popular & got her jotting down fun mnemonics from chapter to chapter. Here’s sharing one we came up with whilst revising MAGNETS.
DD1 finds this helps her remember contents in order. This ensures that information are not retained in a haphazard manner. Since we found success working with mnemonics, she can almost regurgitate the stuff we do word for word. So, u betcha i’m gonna continue with this method of memorizing information for quite some time. 🙂 DD1 remembers the different magnet shapes by repeating to herself that it is in a short abbreviation she concocted : SH… RUB..Berh. Pronounced as Shrub-berh.. for the extra ‘b’ for the last shape. Hehee.. Well, whatever works huh? LOL!
Firstly, we needed to know which are the magnetic metals. We came up with NICS as she remembers NICS = nickname. So it could be a nickname for the magnetic metals!
N : Nickel
I : Iron
C : Cobalt
S : Steel
I realized after i bought a book from TAS (The Alternative Story) that they too have such ways of teaching their students remember better. What a coincidence aye? That boosted my energy levels to come up with more together with DD1. She has to like the short-cut labels she makes cos she’s the one who has to remember them. Instead of forcing her to remember the one i thought best, i got her thinking how to use mnemonics effectively. We then made up this one… we call it RED.
MAGNETISM : What is it?
R : Refers to the pull of a magnet
E : Exerts a magnetic force on magnetic materials.
D : Different magnets have different magnetic strengths.
Surprised and motivated that she could remember these notes by hard and word for word, both of us got eager to come up with more of our own original ones to help her remember better.
NON-MAGNETIC METALS (Group W)
G : Glass
R : RUBBER
P : Plastic
W : Wood
GRP represents the short form of the letter ‘g’… represents the word ‘group’.
AL : Aluminium (She remembers her Uncle Al)
CO : Copper (She remembers loving Uncle Al’s company)
BRO : Bronze (Uncle Al…. well, he’s mommy’s bro ie. brother)
GO : Gold (Mommy wears the gold from Goldheart that Daddy bought)
SI : Silver (Uncle Al wears the silver) 🙂
ZI : Zinc (Both mommy and uncle used to live in a kampong house with a zinc roof)
Cos this was kinda long… i helped her create a chant for it.
AL-CO-BRO…. GOOOOO (cheering)… Sigh… Zi (rhymes with sigh)! We shared this with a close friend of ours to test out the works of mnemonics to see if it does the job… especially since, the mom and child of this friend of ours didn’t have an uncle named Al. LOL!!! But it worked. They even asked us for more.. *wink*
Think this will work for you? Let us know! We have some more you can try, very fun surprisingly and it sorta engaged her for a bit while i prepped her for the analytical questions ahead.
The first step for us was to get those Scientific jargon on her lips. The few sharings above helped us pass the initial barrier of attempting science revision which either gets her started on those yawns (which is soooo contagious may i add…) or it gets me riled up that she was that sleepy. I don’t blame her really, cos it gets kinda boring after a few repetitions.
Her teacher is an angel, who makes them responsible for their learning journey with the impromptu science quizzes she tests in class. She even has the liner on the students’ Science files that read : “I am responsible for my own work!” Students earn points or small tangible rewards like stationery or given chances at coming up with a science experiment to showcase during recess for other students to try out. These initiatives help too. These days the keywords are steadily mouthed by her and she can sense my jaw dropping response when she dishes out new jargons. In fact, she likes it that i get surprised so i play along…..
Seems to work thus far…*crossing my fingers* the self-motivation can see thru’ the rest of the year at least.
I have more to share if you’re game to try some ideas out, but i suppose it’s already a handful for this round. Throw in some of your ideas too, so DD1 and i can try them out as well. It ain’t sharin’ if ya ain’t tellin’….