It’s Science Week here at MamaTeaches! Click here to see all of this week’s science articles.
Even though we homeschool, science isn’t limited to the confines of the house or even our backyard. In fact, the more science experiences we looked for outside of the house, the more we realized that there are so many wonderful learning experiences around town. If you’re not sure where to start, here are three must-visit places to jumpstart your science studies.
3 Must-Visit Places to Experience Science Around Town
1. Science Museums
We’re very fortunate to live so close to a major city that has a plethora of renowned science museums. I’m partnering with the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia this year to bring you news of their amazing programs and exhibits. In fact, in September they’re launching the brand new exhibit, Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly. The exhibit will run from September 30th, 2015 through January 10, 2016 and feature almost 20 live animal displays. From cobras to geckos to Diamond-back rattlesnakes, this exhibit is the perfect way to capture children’s imaginations and curiosity. You can find out more about the exhibit here.
While everyday trips to the museum are amazing, The Academy of Natural Sciences is also known for their special events. During the World Meeting of Families in September (aka when the Pope comes to town and the city is shut down), the museum is actually having a special September Explorers Science Camp for the children who live within the city limits (and those willing to figure out how to get into the city during that week). It’s the perfect opportunity to expose little learners to a fun, educational science experience that they’ll remember for years to come.
If you don’t live near Philadelphia, be sure to check out the amazing science museums near you. They’re not just for summer vacations or class field trips. They can truly become an integral and everyday part of your homeschool science curriculum.
In addition to being close to The Philadelphia Zoo, we also live minutes away from a smaller local zoo. When the kids were younger we had yearly memberships and would walk the zoo everyday. Observing porcupines and jaguars became second nature and their curiosity about animals grew. If you live near a zoo, don’t be a stranger. Not only are the actual animal exhibits fascinating and a great jumping off point for animal studies, the educational programs that zoos offer are also top notch. In fact, take a look at your local zoo’s website and search for teacher resources. While they may not have anything specifically for homeschoolers, the lesson plans and ideas that they have for classroom teachers are usually easily adaptable. Make the zoo a part of your homeschool curriculum for instant curiosity about animals.
Don’t think that libraries are only good for language arts and reading. Many local libraries offer amazing children’s programming throughout the school year and summertime. One of the most popular types of programming tends to be science programs to help further STEM initiatives. As a homeschooler, this is particularly beneficial for your curriculum, because it allows your child to experience all different types of science presentation for a nominal cost.
Although the programs are a must-see, don’t forget about the library’s video collections, as well. Between the science books, nature videos, and science programming, your little learner will expect to learn about science whenever he heads to the library!
While there are many other science experiences that you can find around town (i.e. – community garden, fish hatcheries, conservation groups, etc.), the three above are a great place to start. Instead of thinking of them as “special trips” during the year, make them second nature. Have a question about dinosaurs? Go visit them at the Academy of Natural Sciences! Wonder what giraffes eat? Head on over to the zoo and check them out. This year, make your town and your community a natural extension of your science curriculum. Happy exploring!