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I thought this was a really interesting question. First of all, when young children are learning science I think the focus should be on wonder. You want them to be excited and curious about the world around them. What better way to do this than to use the aesthetics, or five senses?
Touch If you have ever taken a young child to a store, you know how a child learns- by touching! When I taught a course in elementary science methods, I brought in a variety of sensory labs the teachers could try. For instance, teaching sorting by classifying buttons (also works with sight) and teaching life science by watching a tortoise. The tortoise is a perfect example. Students could touch the rough skin and the hard shell, and understand the animal’s use of these for defense.
Sight Use artwork, bright colors and video to help your students understand the content. Demonstrations also work well. I still remember my first grade teacher demonstrating science lessons. True, I don’t remember what they were, but I remember being amazed and wanting to run right home and try it.
Sound You can use sound in a variety of ways. Play the sounds of animals in the wild. Play music in different tones and pitches. Have them tap objects to see which ones are hollow. Sound can be used to build many scientific concepts.
Taste This one sounds scary at first, but it really isn’t . Have children study PH by tasting different liquids. Have them explore taste buds by tasting bitter, sweet and salty foods. Although you need to be more careful with taste, it is one of the most powerful senses and children will definitely get the lesson!
Smell You can teach with smell in some of the same ways as you do taste. Its use extends beyond biology. You can teach children about chemistry by having them smell two solutions before they are mixed, and then smell again after they are mixed together.
As you can see, science lessons come alive when you use aesthetics!
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