“Observation is that first step to discovery,” noted Ariel Zych, Science Friday Education Manager, in a audio segment about Science Friday’s Science Club citizen science challenge, #ObserveEverything.
Science Club notes that scientists such as Galileo, Darwin and Curie made careful observations which led to their discoveries. As individuals or as groups or a class, we are invited to do just that: observe everything and anything, and communicate our observation in one of many formats including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, YouTube, Email, and Tumblr! And, of course, we’ll communicate our observation to other students and parents.
All we have to do is:
- Observe everything until we notice something that interests you.
- Observe it methodically, in the same way, at regular intervals, keeping a record of our observations.
- Share our observations with the hashtag #ObserveEverything (see details at https://www.rebelmouse.com/scifri/Science-Club/ )
As I walked with a small class of two year olds (25-30 months old) for the first time through a tended garden near the school, I pointed out features of plants that I thought would interest them. We looked at a tree “thiiiisssss” tall with small leaves (willow oak) and a smaller tree (but still big to them) with big leaves (paw-paw). We used one gentle finger to touch the leaves and whole hands and bodies to hold the trunk. They spotted ants on tree bark, crows in tree tops, squirrels dashing to climb trees and bees going from flower to flower. A few children confidently said, “They’re getting pollen.” Most exciting was the observation of a small spider on a daisy flower. None of the children yet wondered why the spider was on the flower. With time and discussion, they will see a pattern of animals using plants to survive (NGSS K-LS1-1).
As we walked and observed, the adults often reminded the group about ways we can be good stewards of this garden tended by others:
- Walk on the grass or the mulch paths.
- Use our eyes to see, our nose to smell, and a gentle finger to touch (most things).
- Pick up leaves from the ground, not off a plant because it is still using them.
- Stop and “freeze” if you see an animal so you can watch it for a while without scaring it away.
See articles such as “A Day at the Beach, Anyone?” by Anthony Fredericks and Julie Childers (Science and Children July 2004) and other NSTA posts (here and here) for suggestions on preparing for field trips.
We observed everything! I wonder what observation, and maybe questions, we’ll post next time?