Monday, November 12, 2007

Make an Audio Map

One of the most important things a scientist needs is improved powers of observation. What does this mean? You need to learn to be in the present moment, to see things a little differently, to think "outside the box." How do you achieve this? One way is to focus on each of the five senses. Today, let's explore hearing.

For the littlest scientists, take them outside and go for a walk. Stop every so often during your walk and ask, "What do you hear?" When your child answers, "A car," you can answer, "I hear the leaves moving in the wind. What else do you hear?" As your walk progresses, you can repeat these questions. A good book to follow up with is Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle.

For the older child (and everybody else!), I recommend this activity (based on an assignment I had in my college days, I'd give credit if I remembered the teacher!). Go outside with a sheet of paper and a pen. Make a mark in the middle of the page to show where you are. Close your eyes for a few minutes and just listen. What do you hear? When you open your eyes, mark these sounds on your paper, in the same direction that you heard them. You might have a "d" to the left of center for the barking dog to the left of you, a "c" in the upper right-hand corner of the page for the car alarm blaring up the street, and an "a" near you for the airplane flying overhead.

Wait a minute or two, then repeat the process. This time, you might have another "d" in the same place, the "a" will have moved further away, and with any luck, you won't have another "c." Keep repeating these steps until you have an "audio map" of your experience.

No comments: