This year we have looked at features of land mass, with geology; Earth comparisons with other planets, in astronomy; optics, to explore features of our dominant sense of sight; and tonal qualities in our perception of sound, with acoustics.
Daily experiments and demonstrations have brought opportunities to broaden our experiences in each domain, opening the path of enquiry towards plenty of flow-on questions to engage with later. At this stage, we have concentrated on the use of phenomenon over theory, and experiment and example over concept.
Understanding the earth forces that shape the solid earth to produce rocks is a basic part of engaging with our mineral environment. By exploring different rock samples we have engaged with the principles of geology, with tectonic plates seen as a driving force in changing the earth’s crust. This has led to rock identification through a series of defining characteristics (hardness, density, colour etc); sampling and drawing crystal structures, weathering and erosion; and finding fossilised life in sedimentary rocks.
Becoming conscious of planetary rhythms and cosmic cycles solidifies connection with the earth by looking into the night sky and reading processes of coming and going. Sharing the ways in which people have thought about these processes through the centuries, stimulates a broadening capacity to think in the children. We have also engaged in current astronomical observations and their involvement in evolving scientific thought, from Isaac Newton to Albert Einstein and beyond!
Perceiving the vulnerability in ‘seeing is believing’ opens the capacity for accepting difference. In studying the science of light, our phenomenological approach uses Goethe’s theory of colour as the foundation. We viewed the atmosphere as a ‘semi-transparent’ medium to discover that light itself is invisible! By darkening out the classroom we were able to experience candle after-images, ‘camera obscura’ and other light phenomenon, leading towards an understanding of colours expressing themselves as deeds of the light. The beautiful dodecahedral lanterns (pictured above), created for this weekend's winter solstice, require maths and science!
Understanding the mechanics of sound can lift a passive acceptance of heard material into a consciously active engagement with harmonious (or otherwise) tone. Through the deceptively simple ratios of Pythagoras, the workings of tone given through the previous younger years are awakened. Physical expression of sound has been presented with daily experiments, demonstrations and participatory explorations to probe into the speed, means of transmission and nature of resonance. Understanding how all of these observations fit into other aspects of science ignites a rich experience of the world for the children to carry on with them.
Class 6 Science