New to my site? Have links you want me to share? Products to offer? Click here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Apologia General Science, Module 2, Scientific Inquiry

What we did at Sahm-I-Am

Students, Practice these frequently:
• Quizlet M2

D&T Activity (my kids loved this)
D&T Activity worksheet
Scientific Method in Action
See these and more at Debbie's Educator's Resources.  (Thanks, Debbie!)

(1) p. 35-39, What Science is NOT
A couple of experiments in your book demonstrate that objects do fall at the same rate.
If there is air resistance this interferes and slows down certain objects, but doesn't change the fact that lighter objects with no air resistance do fall at the same rate as heavy objects.
One thing that is not mentioned in this module is that objects will fall at an accelerating rate (getting faster).  This continues until the object(s) reach a point that the downward pull of gravity is equal to the upward push of air resistance.  Objects with more air resistance will fall slower than other objects.

The Feather and the Coin (in a vacuum -- no air)

Hammer vs. Feather - Apollo 15 on the moon!

From experiment 2.1 in your book, it may seem as if one could prove that heavy objects fall faster than lighter objects.  But experiment 2.2 was a counter-example to show that the first experiment was faulty.  The results of the first experiment were incorrect.
Hmmm... this tells us that experiments can be "fixed" to get desired results.  This is something to keep in mind!
One of my husband's professors in Bible college said that people are more likely to believe the view of someone that they like, often not even checking things out for themselves.  But they also might not even consider something another person says.
This is prejudging!
This is like what we read about in Module 1.  Scientists were either believed or not believed based on past achievements, not current facts.  There is some merit, of course, when a scientist is known for his accomplishments.  And if we hear of something we've never heard before, we should be open-minded but be examining the evidence ourselves.
Proverbs 18:13
"He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him."

We look at Module 1 and wonder how can people have believed such things, and not even listened to other scientists who had counter-examples to disprove previous theories.  Writings were banned from being read; scientists put into prison, and wrong things were being taught for years without even considering something different!
Well.... the same thing is being done today!
Evolution is being taught as a fact, and Christianity is not even considered.
►Read this article New Definition of Science?

Further in your module, you will read that sometimes correct results do not happen as quickly as they did in Experiments 2.1 and 2.2.  One such hypothesis was worked on for several years then became a theory that was tested repeatedly and believed for 25 years!  This was finally disproved with a counter-example in 1986, which isn't that long ago.  It may seem long ago to you, but actually it was probably around 10 years or so before you were born.

I couldn't find any scientific videos about counter-examples, but I did find an episode of Cyberchase that deals with a counter example, haha!
If your parent allows, you can watch Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.


(2) p. 40-44, The Scientific Method
What is a Hypothesis?

The Scientific Method

►Scientific Method flow chart

Part 1

Part 2

Exp. 2.3, The Broken Flashlight.
In this experiment, you were to only change one thing at a time.  This is important!

My daughter's computer monitor had been staying pink!
We didn't know if it was the actual computer hard drive, or if it was the monitor.
Our hypothesis was that it was the monitor.  So our experiment to test our hypothesis was that we switched it with an old monitor that we had, and then she did not have a pink screen anymore. 
Yay!  We verified our hypothesis.  
But... then something happened. A counter-example.
My daughter didn't like that huge monitor because it took up so much space on her desk, so we switched again, and gave her mine (it had been having problems too), and I used hers.  (total 3 monitors, not to get you confused or anything!)  =)
This time we only switched our monitors, and not cords, (because the old monitor needed its exact cord).  I had her monitor with my cord, and the screen was not pink.  She got my monitor with her cord, and she had a pink screen.
So our first hypothesis was wrong.  It was not the monitors.  
We had changed 2 things without actually realizing it.  We changed the monitors and the cords.  
The pink screen was gone the first time around, so we had solved the problem, but we did not have the correct explanation.
To correctly do science, you must explain, not just fix.
We did some more experimenting just to be sure, and we finally determined that it was the cord. 
And that is our theory.  =)

In my last post, I told a bit about Ignaz Semmelweis, the Hungarian doctor who proposed that doctors wash their hands before going into the maternity ward.

Semmelweis, Pasteur, and Lister


(3) p. 45-48, Failures of the Scientific Method
In the late 1800's, Italian scientist Giovanni Schiaparelli observed several faint lines crisscrossing on Mars.  He published these observations, then American scientist Percival Lowell hypothesized that the lines were canals dug by the inhabitants of Mars, and eventually it became a theory.  Other scientists agreed and Lowell's theory was on its way to becoming a scientific law!
Of course, as more powerful telescopes were made, all this was discovered to be untrue.
However in 1952, there was a film made called Red Planet Mars.  Here is an excerpt.

Lowell did the right thing in following the scientific method, but sometimes we don't get the results expected.  Sometimes after a LOT of hard work, hypotheses and theories can be disproved!  The scientific method is the proper way to go, but remember, if you are doing true experiments, you don't know what the results will eventually be!
Even modern scientists make mistakes.  That is why things must continually be tested and corrected if need be.

In 1911, Dutch scientist Heike Onnes discovered the phenomenon of superconductivity.  He found that certain substances at extremely cold temperatures (about -450°F) did not resist the flow of electricity at all.
It's like no friction to slow things down.
At the time no one could explain how superconductivity worked.
Scientists have since discovered other ways to use superconductivity, not only through wires, but with magnets.  It's the super cold temperatures that allow this.
Here are some modern examples so you'll have an idea of frictionless superconductivity.
(A bit loud at the beginning.)

Bardeen, Cooper, and Schieffer - the BCS theory
In the 1950's, these scientists began to work on a hypothesis to explain superconductivity.  By 1960, it was considered a scientific theory.  Many tests were performed and confirmed for the next 25 years, and the BCS theory became accepted as a scientific law.

However, one aspect of the BCS theory was that superconductivity was impossible at any warmer temperature than -405ºF.
But in 1986, two scientists, J. George Bednorz and Karl Alex Muller found an example of superconductivity at a warmer temperature!
Turn your speakers up. This isn't very loud.

Since then, warmer and warmer temperatures have been found that allow superconductivity.  I say warmer, but they are still extremely cold!  =)
More examples of what is being done with superconductivity.

All this is to show that while something may have become a scientific law, a counter-example may show otherwise!  So scientists should ever be experimenting, always trying to better their results, discover more, etc.


(4) p. 49-50a, The Limitations of Science
According to p. 49, science
(a) cannot prove anything
(b) is not 100% reliable, and
(c) must conform to the scientific method.
You may be surprised to hear that science cannot prove anything!

I also found this statement in Science Magazine.  (bottom of 2nd page, middle column)
" doesn’t “prove” theories.  Scientific  measurements can only disprove theories or be consistent with them. Any theory that is consistent with measurements could be disproved by a future measurement."


(5) p. 50-55, Science and Christianity
I was pretty sure I would find no videos to go along with this section of your science book.  =)
This section looks at the Bible to see if there is any evidence that supports or contradicts that the Bible is true.  It gives several prophecies that have been fulfilled.   One prophecy mentioned in your text came from Ezekiel 26 and another from Zechariah 11:12-13.
One thing I got from reading this section was that just because many people say it doesn't automatically mean it is true.  Evolution is widely believed, but as a Christian, I believe God created the earth, and that He didn't need evolution to help Him do it.
But just because Christianity is also widely believed doesn't automatically mean it is true, either.
How do we know what is true?  Do we use science to prove it?  We already learned that science cannot prove anything.  There is a lot of evidence of an Intelligent Creator.  If we believe that some wristwatch parts cannot fall together and make a watch, how then could we believe that something so complicated as the human body, animals, the ecosystem, or the solar system could just fall into place with no designer?
Evolution claims we evolved over millions of years.  Why then, did it stop?  We aren't perfect yet, after all!
God created the world only once.  He doesn't need to create another one.  He gave it to us and told us to replenish the earth and subdue it.  It is up to us how we live in it.
So what about science?
I love the reply given with the answer to the On Your Own question 1.10.  Jay Wile writes,
"You should never use science as the basis for your world-view because the conclusions of science are always tentative.  Your worldview affects everything in your life.  You should never base something that important on something as tentative as science!"
If a person is not a Christian, he has no idea what it is like to pray to the Lord and have prayers answered; to feel peace in your heart after a loved one's death, knowing you will see them again in heaven.

I John 5:11-13
11.  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
13.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit that the Lord gave us.  If we are in a close relationship with the Lord, we will "hear" when the Holy Spirit guides us in everyday decisions.  It isn't magic.  To be in a close relationship with someone, you talk and listen to them daily, and often.  It's the same with God.  If we don't read our Bible and pray and listen to Him, we will feel far from Him.
An unsaved person doesn't have the ability to know or feel the things we do.  He feels that what Christians believe is foolish.  He actually isn't able to understand what we know.  Christians have the Holy Spirit of God to help us understand (discern) the Bible, and even without "proof," we know it is true.

I Corinthians 2:14
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:  neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Kids don't like reading text online? or proofreading typed material?

Use free download of text to speech reader, Natural Reader to read aloud nearly any text on your computer, even email, even text on this blog!
I believe you can also copy/paste into a word document and have it read there.  This is good for kids who don't like to proofread because they don't like reading.  =)
My dyslexic ds14 uses this for things he has to write for school.  (What he writes isn't long, but it helps him to hear it.)

The free version uses a computerized voice, but paid versions have more natural sounding voices.
After you download, you can slow it down by going to the speech options through your Control Panel.  We do ours to about a -2.
I always change my "hotkey" options to Ctrl-P to play/pause reading, Ctrl-S to stop, and a few other things that suit us.  It's nice that it can be changed.  =)
Just remember that Natural Reader may not automatically be "on" each time you turn on your computer.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What I wish I had known when my dyslexic ds14 was in K5

Images used with permission from
Picture Me Reading has been used to teach children to read whose parents were told that their child could not learn to read!
There are many testimonials and lots of information on the Picture Me Reading site, but the article that is of most interest to me is How it Began.
Reading it can tell you so much more than I can write here.

I have a dyslexic son who is 14, and I wish I had known of this resource years ago.  He had such trouble learning phonics, which I have always firmly believed in.  I learned phonics through A Beka in a Christian school.  Although I was in kindergarten nearly 35 years ago, when I started homeschooling my own kids I remembered whole sections of phonics charts!
But my son did not do well with phonics.  I tried other curricula, different methods, different resources, and it was a long, slow process.  I can't tell you any one particular product that actually made it click for him.  =\
But finally... a few years ago, he began trying to read hunting magazines, or websites online about hunting, knives, guns, etc, and because he wanted to know the information, he tried.  He used Natural Reader (a free download unless you want the very nice paid version!) to read words or phrases to him he couldn't read.
T looks like Tina's tiny tack 
Which she will hammer now.
"T-t-t," is what we'll hear     
As Tina shows us how.   
  He hasn't used it in over a year now except for proofreading
  things he has to write for school.  (The things he writes aren't
  long, but it helps him to hear it.)
  He has taught himself to sight read.
  I used to worry over his not knowing phonics, but he's doing
  okay now.  Not exactly on grade level, but I no longer worry.  I
  know that if he continues to read things he's interested in, he
  is practicing, and he will learn.
  Phonics certainly didn't work for him, but I know he retained
  some of it.  I know it did help him somewhat in learning to
  sight read.  But we used to work on sounds for weeks, and he
  still couldn't retain it.
  I still remember when he read "lid" as "pil."

  I have read (more than once) that to some kids all the letters
  are just squiggles that mean nothing to them because they
  don't have a picture to associate with them.

That and the testimonials to such is why I believe that Picture Me Reading will work for any child, even if they aren't having trouble learning phonics.  In some curricula, sight words are only words that cannot be sounded out phonetically, so they must be memorized.  Other curricula include "most common words" as part of their sight word list.  Even if your child is doing well phonetically, Picture Me Reading can greatly help in learning at least the sight words.
Go to Try it Now to get free samples emailed to you.  You can also learn how to begin teaching and how to make some flashcards of your own.
I receive no compensation from Picture Me Reading.  They do not know I am writing this post or that I even exist!   2/7/12 - They do now!  =)  
I just think this is a great product that I wish I had known about years ago and wanted to share.
I hope it can help someone.  =)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cool Geography Sites

"A Free Map Quiz Game for Windows:  Seterra 3.0 is a challenging, educational geography game with 70 different exercises.  Learn about countries, capitals, flags, and cities in Africa, Europe, South America, North America, Asia, and Australia using outline map exercises."

U.S.A. Geography -- Learn about states, capitals, geographic regions, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.  Choose your level:  Beginner, Intermediate, Expert, etc.  Other links on this site as well.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Apologia General Science, Module 1, A Brief History of Science

What we did at Sahm-I-Am

Practice these frequently:
Quizlet M1 (These will help with the test, but are not everything on the test)

♦ Download Donna Young's Scientist Notes pages
I included these along with their regular daily assignments.

Note:  In this post there are several videos that have a picture of the same man before the video is played.  These are different clips from one long video.  Make sure you don't accidentally skip any just because the "still" picture is the same.

(1) p. 1-3, The First Inklings of Science (from ancient times to 600 B.C.)
Poppy seeds contain both morphine and codeine.
Egyptian doctors would have patients eat large amounts of the seeds to relieve pain.

Papyrus (puh pie' rus) - a plant that was made into paper, also called papyrus.

Short video (37 seconds) of how papyrus was once made.

See real papyrus:
The lady in the video below talks about the triangular-shaped stem of the papyrus plant.  Egyptians use the outer green part to make sandals, and the inner white part to make papyrus - where we get our word paper from.
The invention of papyrus made it possible to record knowledge and pass it on to future generations.

(2) p. 4-8, True Science Begins to Emerge (600 B.C. - 500 A.D)
Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes - considered the first real scientists.
Read your textbook (1st paragraph, p. 8) to see why.

I had a video here, but my kids told me it wouldn't play.  So I checked the video on youtube and found that the user's account had been deleted.  Well.  
I've looked for another video, but can't find one that is satisfactory.
So read p. 8 really well!  =)

Democritus believed there were atoms, and that atoms could not be broken down further.  Atom means uncuttable.
Aristotle wrongly did not believe in the existence of atoms, but was considered correct, therefore Democritus' theory was ignored for 2,000 years.

In your textbook, you learn about atoms.
Two or more kinds of atoms joined together make a molecule.  So when this video talks about molecules, it is talking about "sets" of atoms that are in a particular object.
Two atoms of hydrogen and 1 atom of oxygen make up 1 molecule of water -- H2O.

Atoms - different objects have different kinds of atoms, and some are more densely packed than others.
(In pure metals there are no molecules, only atoms.  It takes 2 or more different kinds of atoms that will join together to make up a molecule.)

In Experiment 1.1, Density in Nature, we saw that different liquids and objects have different densities.
Liquids that have a lighter density (in other words, the atoms are not packed as closely together) will float to the top, while items that have more density will sink to the bottom.
Watch Steve Spangler do this cool experiment with 7 liquids.  =)

(3) p. 8-12, Three Other Notable Greek Scientists
Aristotle was the first to make a large-scale attempt at the classification of animals and plants.  There are kingdoms all the way down to species.
He was so smart in many things that many people began to believe everything he said, even though it had not been tested.  One thing he believed that we now know is wrong was that heavier objects fall faster than smaller objects.
We should know to only believe in scientific ideas because of evidence, not because of who said it just because we may like that person or because they are smart.
We should also be this way about the Bible.  Study your Bible for yourself, and you will be able to better discern (know in your heart) if something is true when you hear it.
Aristotle also wrongly believed in spontaneous generation.

Archimedes discovered how to measure the volume of an irregularly-shaped object.

Ptolemy was the first to try to attempt a complete description of the planets and stars.  He wrongly believed that the earth was the center of the solar system instead of the sun.  This was called the geocentric system.

Below is what the Ptolemic theory (or geocentric theory - geo means earth) would look like, with the earth in the center.
But in order for some planets to go in their orbit so that they are in correct proximity to the sun, they must have a looping revolution around the sun, which makes for a very confusing model of how the planets were thought to revolve.
Then the video changes to the Copernican theory (the heliocentric theory - helio means sun), which was proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus but rejected by the church for many years.

(4) p. 12-16, The Progress of Science Stalls for a While (500 A.D to 1000 A.D)
This period is also referred to as the Dark Ages.  The progress of science depends on government and culture, and at this time, people were wanting something different.  Rather than discovery, they wanted riches.
Alchemists (do you see the word chemist in there?) are people who wanted to turn lead or other inexpensive substances into gold or other precious metals.  This was called alchemy.  Because of not actually doing much experimenting during this period, very little actual scientific progress was made.
Although they were never able to turn anything into gold, occasionally a mixture would turn out something useful, and these results were recorded.
Below is a fun chemistry trick.

We can be thankful for the monks who copied and re-copied not only Scripture, but the accumulated scientific knowledge at that time.  They created large volumes with this information, and these came to be known as encyclopedias.  Because of these, science was able to flourish in the next period of history.
The Chinese also wrote detailed observations, even though at the time they didn't know what they were seeing.  Later modern scientists were able to determine much about what the Chinese scientists had recorded.
Writing down in a lab report what you did and what happened is for much the same reason.  You are young now, and may not think what you write will matter.  But it is good to know how to write lab reports, and to be able to write them well, with good descriptions.  You never know...  =)

(5) 16-18, Science Begins to Pick up Some Speed Again (1000 A.D. - 1500 A.D.)
Robert Grosseteste was known as the father of the scientific method because his methods of testing and retesting to make sure the results were correct led to our modern scientific method today.
The Romans believed that bad things or good things happened based on the whims of gods.
Robert Grosseteste believed that there were reasons, laws created by God, that certain things happened.  He believed that the reason for experimenting was to find why it happened that way.  That's the essence of science.
*We can be thankful for someone who believed in God's laws of nature (and not gods' whims) that scientific discovery began to pick up again, and end the Dark Ages.
To be a fact, an experiment must be able to be done over and over with the same result.
Read more about The Scientific Method at Biology4Kids.  Read about the differences between hypothesis, theory, and law.

In the video below, the guy is right.  Many things cannot be proven like evolution, the big bang, but that also includes Creation.  In order to be proven, something must be able to be repeated and observed.  
Therefore as Christians led by the Holy Spirit, we can believe by faith the Biblical account of the origin of the universe.  =)

(6) p. 19-23, The Renaissance:  The "Golden Age" of Science (1500 A.D - 1660 A.D.)
Nicolous Copernicus, as you may remember from an earlier video, correctly proposed the heliocentric system, the theory that the sun is center of our universe.
The Roman Catholic church at first rejected Copernicus' book, and actually prohibited it from being read!

Exp. 1.4, Mapping the Paths of the Planets
Johannes Kepler made such detailed observations of the planets that he was able to figure out the basic orbits of the planets around the sun.  His mathematical equations became known as "Kepler's Laws."
The planets do not orbit in an exact circle, but in an ellipse (like an oval).  The planets' ellipse is only a slight oval, however.
There are two important points in an ellipse.  These two points in an ellipse are called the focus points, or foci (plural).  One focus point is the sun. ☼
Do you see that the earth does not constantly revolve at an equal distance from the sun?  It takes a year to revolve all the way around the sun at constantly varying distances.

Used with Permission, Copyright Aaron Keller

To draw an ellipse:
(The pushpins are the foci, and one of them represents the sun. )

To draw an ellipse on a sheet of paper, you can tape the paper to something like corkboard, bulletin board, thick cardboard, etc, and place two pushpins in it.

Galileo Galilei is known for building the first telescope, but actually, he copied another man's invention! Galileo's new, improved telescope did indeed work very well and he was able to see that the heliocentric view was much better than the geocentric view.
Although he collected a lot of information that supported the heliocentric view, the church forced him to recant (take back) his beliefs in favor of the geocentric view.  He did however, keep learning and recording what he found.  Many years after his death, this information (along with Kepler's Laws) proved valuable.  The church finally had to accept the heliocentric view.

(7) p. 23-25a, The Era of Newton
Sir Isaac Newton was the single greatest scientist of all time.

Antoni van Leeuwenhook built the first microscope which does not look at all what we think of as a microscope!
(This video says Antoni van Leeuwenhook built one after someone else did, but we will go with what the text says.)

(8) p. 25-26, The "Enlightenment" and the Industrial Revolution (1735 A.D. - 1819 A.D.)
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier was the first to realize that matter cannot be created, nor can it be destroyed -- it can only change forms.  This is knows as the Law of Mass Conservation ( or Conservation of Mass).
I believe this is part of a longer video.  From what I've learned online, Lavoisier was apparently not an honest man, stealing some ideas and taking credit for them.  This did help further his own discoveries, but in the end, it was his undoing.  He also was not honest in his tax collecting, and his riches allowed him to buy more and do better science experiments.  So he was able to accomplish a lot, but it was due in part to his unscrupulous ways.  He was eventually put to death.

John Dalton developed the first detailed atomic theory.  (atomic - having to do w/ atoms.)
Remember Democritus had believed in atoms years ealier.

(9) p. 27-29, The Rest of the Nineteenth Century (1820 A.D. - 1899 A.D)
Many of you may know about Charles Darwin and his book The Origin of Species (short version of a long title).  His theory in this book that made no reference to God is now known as the theory of evolution.
As with most of the scientists we've studied, whom we later learned were wrong about some things but helped the advancement of science in other areas, there is one thing that came of Darwin's studies that proved something important, however.
►Sometimes even wrong ideas end up helping advance science.
Some people believed in the immutability of the species -- in other words, that they cannot change at all.
No, they cannot change into other animals, but they can vary.
For instance, look at all the breeds of dogs there are.  Look at their fur, their size, their shape.  I'm pretty sure Noah didn't take two of each of those on the ark!  =)
Now it may seem obvious to us, but once, scientists believed that all the dogs we have now always existed, and that they never had changed.  This is called the immutability of the species.
Though most of the rest of Darwin's ideas were wrong, his destroying this idea of the immutability of the species changed the way in which scientists studied living things.

As we have seen before, people are usually reluctant to accept any new idea, even if it makes sense, and is proven.  Ignaz Semmelweis had such an idea, but it was 10 years before it became accepted.  Ten years doesn't seem as long compared to some other scientists' ideas, but this idea was a matter of life and death!!!  Thousands more died because no one listened to him.  He was eventually put into prison and died 2 weeks later at the age of 47. 
You will learn a little about him now, and more about him in the next module.
Ten years after Semmelweis first proposed his hypothesis, Louis Pasteur (from where the word pasteurization comes) found the causes of infections and disease, and proved it through experiments and demonstrations.  Semmelweis died never knowing of Pasteur's work.

The experiments of Gregor Mendel are about genetics - how traits are passed on during reproduction.

How traits are passed on.

James Clerk Maxwell, father of modern physics.
"Albert Einstein said that James Clerk Maxwell made greater contributions to physics than anyone except Isaac Newton."

James Joule said that energy, like matter (Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier - Law of Conservation of Mass), can neither be created nor destroyed.  Energy can only change forms.  This is known as the First Law of Thermodynamics (sometimes called the Law of Conservation of Energy).
When you eat food, it gives you energy.  The food/energy changed forms.

This video is about energy, but not James Joule.

(10) p. 29-31, Modern Science (1900 A.D - Present)
Max Planck proposed that energy exists in small packets called quanta.  (Like matter is in tiny packets called atoms.)  Eventually, this new way of looking at matter and energy became known as quantum mechanics.
Albert Einstein  was very interested in quantum mechanics, and used Planck's idea to explain the photoelectric effect.
Niels Bohr gave further evidence that Planck was right when he developed his model of what an atom looked like.  It is called the Bohr Model.
(Images of the Bohr Model)

Einstein also developed the  general theory of relativity and the special theory of relativity.
His general theory of relativity will probably seem strange to you, as it did when I first heard about it.  I had always learned that the planets stayed in orbit around the sun because of the sun's strong gravity.
But, as we've seen in the history of science, it is hard to accept something new.
The video below indicates Einstein was right, and there are several pieces of evidence to suggest that, but it has not been tested nearly enough to become a law, so it is still a theory.  It is a good theory, but still a theory.