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Talking to Your Third-Grader about Science and Health

  • Close observation is a primary objective of the science program. You and your child can examine a rock, a tree, a leaf, an animal, or an insect. Take turns asking, "What do you see?"
  • Observe the sky together. Ask, "What shapes do you see in the clouds?" "Where will you find the sun in the early morning?" "At noon?" "In the evening?"
  • Observe the moon together over several weeks; note whether you are looking at it at the same time every day or at different times. Note its location and draw its various shapes; be aware of the stars around it. Examine the moon chart in the weather section of your daily newspaper or on a calendar.
  • Can your child locate the North Star? Can he or she explain how it has helped explorers and outdoorspeople?
  • Ask about the scientists your child has studied. What does he or she know about them?
  • Walks afford many opportunities to identify objects in the environment. You can ask, "What do you think that is?" "What kind of bird is that?" "Let's see how many different kinds of flowers we can identify in this block" (or park, or outdoor mall).
  • Together you and your child can name various parts of the body: the heart, lungs, blood, and bones. Talk about their functions.
  • Ask why it is important to get exercise, to rest, to eat well, to dress appropriately for various weather conditions, and to see a doctor when you are sick. See what your child is learning about health.
  • Engage in physical exercise together. Point out how important exercise is to good health. This is a good invitation to ask your child what he or she is learning about staying healthy.
  • Science in school increasingly gives attention to the sources of common things and to everyday processes. You and your child can investigate questions such as, "Where does our water come from?" "Where does our sewage go?" "What is the source of our electricity?" "How does a motor work?" "How does a plant grow?" "What causes cement to crack?"
Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 3rd Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers.
Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.
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