Sometimes I try to teach something to my kids. You ever try that? They get that weird look on their face that kind of looks like they just inhaled a terrible smell. More often than not, since they have gotten older, I barely get out more than a few words before they realize my intent is that they might learn something, and then “wham!” they are either gone from the room, or changing the subject.
It seems kids often have a natural aversion to anything they might “learn” from, unless the learning is hidden inside of something they first perceive as fun.
Which is why summer is a great time to seize upon as a source of readily available “fun” moments that can be sneakily used to teach!
Take the campfire as an example. Many of us will spend time out of doors this summer, and in many cases it will involve a campfire. Perfect! I have never met a kid that didn’t like fooling around with campfires.
The setting and lighting of a campfire is a perfect time to craftily interject information about the three scientific components of fire: oxygen, fuel and heat. Otherwise known as the “Fire Triangle” Starting a fire requires all three, usually in the form of air, wood and a lighter. But setting up the fire gives a perfect opportunity to discuss things like the surface to density ratio of fuel. Paper as a lot of surface but little density so it burns quickly. A large piece of wood has a much higher density and so requires longer to begin to burn but then will burn longer. And so on.
Make it fun!
Here is a link to a series that NPR is doing on this very subject this summer: How to build a campfire
Make it fun and kids love to learn!
Which is why we have been producing and performing science assemblies in schools for more than thirty years! We make science fun for kids and get them wanting to learn more.
This year we are adding several new science assemblies in a push to reemphasize science education in schools, alongside the push from Initiatives like STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Math)
So give our programs a look! But first go help your kids learn how to start a fire. But don’t forget to teach them how to extinguish it, too!
Geoff Beauchamp is the Regional Manager of Mobile Ed Productions where "Education Through Entertainment" has been the guiding principal since 1979. Mobile Ed Productions produces and markets quality educational school assembly programs in the fields of science, history, writing, astronomy, natural science, mathematics, character issues and a variety of other curriculum based areas. In addition, Mr. Beauchamp is a professional actor with 30 years of experience in film, television and on stage. He created and still performs occasionally in Mobile Ed's THE LIVING LINCOLN.