The wonderful thing about STEM is that there are opportunities all around us. A lot of science starts with observing and having situational awareness. According to Wikipedia, (because it’s more authoritative than some blogger) the first step in the scientific method is observe, for goodness sake! Pointing things out to your kids can turn the normal, everyday world into something fascinating and exciting.
Take, for example, the amaryllis bulb my grandma gave us for Christmas. I thought it would be fun to measure its growth everyday and write it down on a card. Not that J would really understand the exact growth measurements, but I’m hoping that he’ll see that it does grow and change. We’re throwing science and math into this project. Combo projects are the best!
Boy was I not disappointed! This thing has taken off! I wish I’d taken more pictures to document the growth. We’ve gone from three leaves to five. The main leaf has grown about 4 inches in the week since we’ve been measuring. We’re waiting with bated breath to see how the flower itself appears. Apparently, amaryllises (amaryllisi?) are famous for fast growth. Who knew? We lucked out on that one. Thanks, Grandma!
Most importantly, J is asking me to measure it. Every time we sit down for a meal, he wonders where the tape measure is so that we can measure the plant. Word to the wise, though, he’s gotten a little handsy with the plant, so it may take some education to help him understand that the flower is fragile. That’s a great opportunity, too, to teach about how different plants are stronger than others. Compare the amaryllis to a bush, a blade of grass, and a tree. Let your kid see how each one is different. Some plants are strong. Some are not. Some plants are smooth. Others are rough. Some plants bend easily without breaking. Others don’t bend at all.
So, grab your measuring tape find a plant. It can be lawn grass, a lemon tree, a rose bush. Desert dwellers may need to be a little more creative, but find something. This has been a big hit at our house.