This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Many of us homeschool moms are not thrilled at the thought of high school level science! To tell the truth, many of our teens are not thrilled, either. That’s why we invited our friend, Kristin Moon, of Kristin Moon Science, to help us with ideas for getting our teens engaged in science.
Dr. Kristin Moon is a microbiologist, but just as important, a homeschool mom. (She’s also from Vicki’s hometown, Gainesville, Florida, but that’s beside the point.) Kristin loves to help homeschoolers:
- Invest in their curiosity to learn that science is interesting and meaningful
- Develop connections in things they know to things they want to know
- Have hands-on learning experiences that are truly useful
She shares her love of science at her website in her blogs, online courses, live classes and more!
Kristin has homeschooled her two sons since the beginning. She had not planned to homeschool but was inspired by the other homeschoolers in her church (and her love of learning alongside her children) to homeschool all the way through. Kristin found that homeschooling high school years have been the most fun of all.
Both Kristin’s teens have some learning difficulties with dyslexia or ADHD. She has been able to tailor her curriculum to allow them to run ahead in areas of their giftedness and interests (like math and science) and take their time in areas of struggle. Now both boys are taking college classes and doing well. (One son in at at state university and one still in homeschool high school while taking dual enrollment courses.)
Kristin learned the love of science while in college. When she was in her freshman Biology class, she learned about the beauty of the way DNA works. She was so inspired that she chose Microbiology as her major. She went onto graduate school for a PhD in molecular biology and specialized in viruses. She wanted to have a research career. That is, until she found out how much she loved being a mom and teaching her own kids.
As the word got out in her local homeschool community that there was a scientist in their midst, Kristin had the opportunity to start teaching science in local homeschool co-ops. She loves inspiring intimidated homeschool high schoolers to engage in science! Kristen has become a science ambassador of sorts!
As Kristin always says: Anyone can love science, they just haven’t learned what they love about it yet!
Want some specific ideas for helping teens learn to love science? Let’s talk about DNA:
With her local homeschool co-op friends and online, Kristin does some DNA detective work:
- She talks about hemoglobin in the red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.
- She gives the amino acid sequences to the teens in a handout.
- Then she guides them through the process of making those genes into hemoglobin.
- She discusses sickle-cell anemia (which is a genetic illness where the hemoglobin gene has a mutation that causes the cell to collapse on itself).
- Then she helps the teens discover and identify the amino acid mutation that causes sickle-cell anemia.
- Teens get so excited when they have had a chance to do a little scientific sleuthing!
Then she gives them instructions on extracting DNA at home with fruit and rubbing alcohol and also on their own cheek cells. She shows them how to examine the DNA, so that they can get engaged in understanding themselves and the way God made them.
BTW: What is important in science? The text or the experience?
Sometimes parents worry that if they do too much *discovery science* that their high schoolers will not have time to complete their textbooks. That might be so. Do you ever remember completing a science text when you were in high school? We believe that completing the entire textbook might not be the number one priority (in fact, the homeschool umbrella school that the 7Sisters’ teens have attended only requires 3/4 completion of the texts). Here are Vicki and Kristin’s thoughts:
- Vicki points out that this kind of engaging teens in science is more important than finishing the entire science textbook.
- Kristin says it is more important to learn to think like a scientist than finish a book.
- Activities and exploration help build these skills.
- In fact, every time they have a question, teens should develop the discipline to look it up online (most of them have a computer in their pockets, these days).
- This is all science!
- (Log it as lab time…)
Got more questions? More curiosity?
Your homeschoolers can sign up for Kristin’s courses at the online at KristinMoonScience.com or at the academies of two of our friends:
- Kristin Moon Science: What are Genetics and Heredity? (Instructions and activities)
- Kristin Moon Science: DNA self-paced course (with sickle-cell anemia activity and others)
- High School Chemistry (2020/21) at FundaFunda Academy
- High School Biology (2020/21) at True North Academy
Want more help in engaging teens in science?
- Check out this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast about science labs for non-STEM high schoolers (and their moms).
- For Health and Social Sciences:
- Check out 7Sisters’s popular downloadable, no-busywork, adaptable texts:
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Engaging Teens in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon