Friday, December 12, 2014

Great Scientists and Lots of Documentaries

Here's Lu with his collection of Famous Scientist posters:

This year, we worked with this book to learn about science through the great discoveries of scientists throughout history:

Each week, Lu would work on one scientist. First, he read and took notes. Then, he designed his poster in pencil. Finally, he colored in the illustrations. The whole process usually took him three hours, over two or three days.

This was an independent project that Lu did entirely on his own, with no mama involvement. But I loved being near when he was reading about the scientist of the week because he would often, with much excitement, stop and ask me things like "DID YOU KNOW that so and so discovered this AMAZING thing?!?!?!"

Learning about science through the scientists turned out to be a really excellent way for Lu to see the evolution of science, the links between discoveries, the arguments and competition, the struggles and frustrations, the politics in science, the role of religion, the setbacks, and the construction of ideas over time.

This book was lacking in women scientists and it didn't include Nikola Tesla. So Lu did some extra internet research to include Tesla, and is planning to do a special report on women in science.

We watched several science documentaries this year:

Nat Geo - Cosmos - A  Space Time Odyssey rocked our world!

BBC - Atom is a three part series that truly boggled our minds.

BBC - Life on Earth (1979)  
with our very favorite David Attenborough

We also watched:

History Channel - Scientific Genius, Benjamin Franklin

BBC - Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life

Nat Geo - Albert Einstein Biography

Nova - E=mc2

PBS - Nikola Tesla's Life

BBC - South Pacific

Nat Geo - Wild Kalahari

Watching science and history documentaries 
is something we do as a family at lunchtime, 
and it's one of my favorite parts of the day.

Cha doesn't smoke a pipe, or wear a suit unless someone's getting married, and it's more like the three of us and our four inside dogs (because we also have four outside dogs, I kid you not) trying to squeeze onto the day bed in front of my computer, holding big salad bowls between our knees (not the dogs, they don't like salad).