Making Science Come Alive Part 1

Previously posted on September 27, 2016

I love Science. It is just so fascinating. I still remember devouring that TIME magazine issue in the late 1980s featuring the amazing discoveries about that immune system. That and all the World Book Encyclopedias on Health really propelled my quest to earn my degree in Medicine. Though Medical School was tough, the awe and fascination for the wonders of Science lingered.

I guess, that’s why I am a very enthusiastic Science teacher.  I have this feeling that I will do the subject such injustice if our Science lessons become boring and tedious.  I have to say that these materials have helped make our Science Come Alive:

Apologia Science (Available in Learning Plus Book Store)

From Mudpies to Magnets, and More Mudpies to Magnets, but am sure with there are many others out there especially from Usborne Publishers and the Giant Encyclopedia Publishers

So here is just a sample of what we went through in Science the past weeks. Our lessons were:

  • Cell and Cell Theory
  • Microscope/Use of Microscope
  • Parts of the Cell
  • DNA / Introduction to Genes
  • Plant/ Animal Cell
  • Cells-Tissue-Organ-System
  • Cardiovasuclar System
  • Introduction to the Hematologic System (Blood)

When I think of how to teach a specific lesson, I always consider the following:

  • How to make it interesting and applicable
  • Integrating the various senses (Sensory Activation/ Integration) through use of interesting videos, doing step by step projects, looking for stories that can also reach out to other aspects of the student’s life (emotion/ character/beliefs)
  • What is available (and of course, the 3 Rs of reuse, reduce, recycle): Materials and Reference Materials/ Models
  • Relate it to current events
  • How to turn lessons into unit studies and find connections with other subjects (Sometimes, I can only find connections to one subject, but there are times, a whole unit study is born).
  • If Art projects can be incorporated

As I keep all these in mind (sometimes I take notes, but many times, ideas come in a spur of the moment fashion), I then mix, combine, balance and alternate. I try to intersperse lessons so as not to create information overload, note taking fatigue or boredom: a bit of lecture here, then a video there and then working on steps in a project later on. Is there a formula? No, just trust your instincts or better yet, a more “scientific” basis would be to observe your student’s nonverbal (or verbal, if they’re bold enough) cues if they need a break or need to spruce things up a bit.

So let me share with you our lessons through photos:

It’s good to start with the basics of Microscopy and Cell Theory. Simply because the students need to understand how “microscopic” cells and details have been discovered and visualized. We purchased a basic middle school level microscope with 1200x as highest magnification many years ago and with 4 children, it was a good investment. I think it was less than Php 2000.00 then.


You may use a simple worksheet template for this as well. You can also check some YouTube tutorials on the use of a basic microscope.

In trying to explain cells or atoms, I used to use Styrofoam as a learning to tool. However, we had this cloud foam product for the longest time in a cabinet of boxed toys/activity kits. Oh wow, what a treasure! It looks like cells, and they attach together like play dough! Eureka moment indeed.

And so, we go deeper in the study of cells: structure and parts. Many years ago, with our older boys, we did the edible cell in our homeschool Monday Gang, the cell was made of rice, vegetables and macaroni uncooked noodles. (I’ll try to look for a photo!)  The cytoplasm was made of rice glued as the floor on an illustration board and the organelles were from carrots, cabbage, onions, mongo seeds and other veggies that resembled the cell parts. The cell membrane was made up of elbow macaroni!

This school year, we decided to follow Apologia Creation Science Anatomy and Physiology Textbook’s activity using everyday pantry or kitchen stuff. We improvised on a few things. Look!

Can you identify the main organelles in our cell?

So, we then proceeded to cells make up tissues and groups of tissues make up organs. Look at Gino’s heart, lungs and liver!

I’m getting too excited here but will have to take a break!!!!  Watch out for Part 2 as we delve into the Circulatory System and dissect the DNA!

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts forms one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

1 Corinthians 12:12-20

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