Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Teach Your Kid's About Nature's Electronic Network!

Incredible Symbiotic Relationships 
Connecting Plant Communities
Okay, sounds good, but you may have to educate yourself first. And nothing teaches kids better than fun cartoons. Yet many adults may even need a little encouragement by use of animation to get a full understanding of what goes on under the ground in the natural world, like this pic below which in real life you may not be able to explain in simple attention grabbing language or terms which will capture and hold that child's short attention span.

Image: Plant Health Care
These relationships Allow Plants to absorb Water Nutrients by over 200%
The Australian government to the rescue through it's "Australia National Botanica Garden's website and an animated "A Pictures Says a Thousand Word" explanation of just how interconnected the biological underground really is under the Earth

It is definitely a challenge these days to get young people interested in anything like a garden, let alone going on nature treks. The competition is huge and you're outnumbered, what with things like computer gaming, cell phones, I-Pads, Smart Phones, Blackberries, CD Players with Headphones, Flatscreen Televisions, etc. When I was a kid we spent most of our time outdoors. We dreamed up our own adventures using our minds, since there wasn't some industry out there doing it for us, not that what existed then wasn't trying. During the 1950s - 60s kids were involved in all manner of conservation club programs and summer camps to teach kids how fun and adventurous nature could really be. Most of those well known programs and clubs are just about extinct and the sad state of the planet's natural world shows it.

Primary fault for this lack of interest in gardening or nature and responsibility for guiding your kids is on you the parent. Unfortunately this world runs on a pursuit of materialistic excesses mentality. Family structure no longer allows for close families any longer since both parents often work to provide material goods well beyond what are really the necessary basics. Those electronic gadgets unfortunately have been used as convenient babysitters. Hence if you want to develop any interest at all in many of the old time wholesome activities which were normal to family life decades ago, you've got your work cut out for you. 

Then go ahead and take advantage then of those technologies - ideas and use them in constructive ways. Here's the weblink to that Australian site and maybe it will give you some creative ideas for teaching your kids through some type of cartoony clipart media.
  "Australian National Botanic Gardens - Mycorrhiza"

A Thousand Words 

Take advantage of some other electronic technologies like Videos. Kids love videos, but when it comes to something educational, only if it's short videos. The video clips are short and they  match their young short attention spans. I ran across an educational nature website for teaching kids nature.  Click on the videos link. One of my favourite is about those "Banana Slugs" from the pacific northwest of North America. My wife purchased a tape of children's songs for our son Jared dealing with the subject of nature and those slugs had a song made about them.
"The Vista 360° Program  Environmental Science Magnet School Program"

Enjoy and good luck with those distracted kids. Oh - and in the process, you too may even learn a thing or two that's valuable too! Further reading and ideas on how you can teach kids to appreciate the microbiology that works under the ground. Great Link:
The Microbe Zoo: digital learning center for Microbial Ecology 

Some Updates here on this one:
Children often act the way a scientist is supposed to. Toddlers are able to express basic aspects of scientific understanding: finding cause and effect by experimental method. These were the findings of Alison Gopnick who performed experiments with children at play and became convinced that, contrary to popular beliefs that children act irrationally and chaotically, the basics of scientific reasoning are present in their brains even at a young age. 
"Scientific Thinking in Young Children: Theoretical Advances, Empirical Research, and Policy Implications"

"New theoretical ideas and empirical research show  that very young children’s learning and thinking are  strikingly similar to much learning and thinking in  science. Preschoolers test hypotheses against data  and make causal inferences; they learn from  statistics and informal experimentation, and from  watching and listening to others. The mathematical  framework of probabilistic models and Bayesian  inference can describe this learning in precise ways.  These discoveries have implications for early  childhood education and policy. In particular, they  suggest both that early childhood experience is  extremely important and that the trend toward more  structured and academic early childhood programs is   misguided." 

Full Article:

What looks like play may really be a science experiment

Child’s play is science. [“Playing Doctors” by Frederick   Daniel Hardy (1827–1911); image: Stapleton   Collection/Corbis]
Schematic representation of the   ping-pong ball experiment. The experimenter showed the infants a box full of white and red balls. Then she closed her eyes and randomly took some balls from the box and put them in another small bin. If the sample was truly random, then the distribution of balls in the bin should   match the distribution of the balls in the box. Infants saw a sample that either matched or did not match the distribution, and they looked longer at the non-matching sample. In a control condition, infants saw just the same sequence of events, but the experimenter took the balls out of her pocket rather than taking them from the box, and the looking-time difference disappeared.

The blicket detector experiment. Children saw that the machine did not activate when B alone was placed on it, but did activate when A was placed   on it and continued to do so when B was added to A.Then they were asked to make the machine stop. Given this evidence, the correct causal interpretation is that A alone activates the machine, and the children should act on A and not B.The main responsibility for a child's learning and development is PARENTS, not the State. Deepen your child's learning ability by allowing their curiosity to work for them, not against. 


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