As a teacher of Special Education, one of the biggest problems I am faced with is how to motivate the student. This is a challenge that is not easily met since motivation is precisely one of the areas where they are more seriously lacking. One of the worst moments a teacher faces, I think, is when he is in front of the class demonstrating something only to be met with blank expressions. What to do? How to reach into those minds and share something meaningful? The magic of science may be a tool to help awaken some interest!
Science is the magic of our modern world. What person has not been fascinated by the wonders of science? With its test-tubes, rockets, telescopes, microscope, chemistry-sets, the atom and Milky-Way, etc. Even the special-ed. child will be lured into tinkering with these magic tools.
Using crystals as the springboard I propose to let our children have a taste of being the scientist by letting him do the experiments and asking the questions. This program intends to be a hands-on experience where the students will grow a number of crystals, ask questions and experiment. A log will, optionally, be kept by the students on the progress of their experiments. At the end of the program the students will have a display showing their crystals in various stages of development. Additionally, the students will have models of crystals to take home. The students will also have some understanding about the forces that shape crystals into their particular forms as well as having criteria in identifying crystals.
The program will touch on the building blocks of matter and how they unite to create the great diversity that we see all around us. Students will get an appreciation of size through a little comparative math. Comparing, for example, the difference between an ant and an elephant will cause raised eye-brows and laughter.
Learning could and, whenever possible, should be fun. This will make the lesson easier to assimilate. To this end we will spend some time tracing, cutting, coloring, and pasting patterns into shapes, mobiles and other forms of decorations. This will reinforce the lesson as well as create an enjoyable activity.
Finally, the group will tour the neighborhood and make field trips to find out more about crystals , where they are found and how they affect our lives through technology.