I have enjoyed presenting the science class so far. We covered why science started in Ancient Greece, the first scientific thinker, how the Ancient Greeks knew the world was round long before Columbus attempted to sail to Asia, and spent time covering Archimedes' discoveries in bouyancy and the lever.
The format of the course has left a bit to be desired for me and the kids also. Teaching elementary science to varied ages and skill levels necessitates skipping a lot of math. I also feel that with the lecture format will be more difficult to keep them listening and not distracted as we delve into the modern era of science. I wrote that last sentence prior to actually having class today. Running the class without a lecture to prepare the kids for the vocabulary or flow of the discoveries was probably more confusing for the kids. They did love the demonstrations they could help with.
I started talking about why it was hard to convince people that the Earth was round even with all of the observed evidence--how would people on the otherside not fall off? Aristotle figured that things were attracted to the center of the Earth. I dropped a piece of paper and a ball at the same time, showing that the ball hit first. I then crumpled the paper and dropped them and they hit at the same time. We talked about air resistance and how the ancients didn't realize that gravity would pull on them both the same and weight didn't matter. We rolled spheres of various materials across a smooth floor to demonstrate momentum (top picture). We allowed the spheres to roll down a wrapping paper tube to show how the speed of the marble varied with height. Then we discussed velocity and what constant velocity would look like--traveling the same distance in the same amount of time. Then we rolled the ball down a ramp (an old church pew that's about 10 feet long) with ribbon placed at even distances. The set up is shown in the middle two pictures. After asking the kids to count each 'bump' as the steel sphere jumped the ribbon, it was obvious that the velocity was increasing. I talked about acceleration and force. We then used the handy-dandy nerf dart gun (bottom) to show that horizontal motion and the vertical pull of gravity operated independently of each other. I shot the dart gun and dropped a metal sphere at the same time. The kids watched the dart and could hear the metal ball hit the ground at the same time.
It was fast-paced and packed with demonstrations, but I really missed the lecture. I like making sure they know what's coming. I especially prefer being able to present concepts and vocabulary that they are seeing, perhaps for the first time, when they are not distracted by gadgets or set ups. Perhaps the issues with the lectures are related to trying to get elementary-age homeschool kids to sit and listen when they haven't been in a class before. I should be very clear on my expectations of their behavior.