Trimming the tree: a science lesson.


So you don’t think you can make everything into something to learn? I beg to differ. Making even the most mundane activities into lessons is about asking questions, looking for solutions, and vocabulary.

Trimming the tree is actually a science lesson about load bearing. How much can one branch hold?

My kids are young so they try to put all the ornaments on the small branches in the outside. So I asked them, “Does that branch look strong enough to carry that load?” Nicholas was the first to figure out what the question meant: can the branch hold the ornament?

Sure enough, they began to do experiment with what types of branches held which ornament. So instead of sitting with a book and learning about load bearing, that things weight more when they dangle and aren’t supported, and that thicker branches support more weight; we used the tree as our laboratory.

I never asked them to describe the lesson. I just asked guiding questions while they were decorating the tree. So instead of saying, “No that doesn’t go there,” I asked if the branch was strong enough, was there enough room, and if the branch bent.

It was a fun lesson without having to be a lesson.

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