Let’s face it. Many traditional math and science tests focus too much on the vocabulary and repeating memorized facts than what the child learned or how he can apply it. Alternative testing methods for science allow your child to show her understanding of the topic without being bogged down by the test taking process. Check out these 5 alternative ways a child can show her mastery of science.
5 Alternative Testing Methods for Science
1. Do an Experiment
The process of doing an experiment, making slime for example, helps show that your child understands the experimentation process. She sees how combining ingredients can form a new substance. Not to mention that making slime tests her ability to follow instructions. In science, following instructions to the letter ensures that the experiment goes as planned. Once the slime is made, your child can also make observations about the consistency, whether or not she feels that slime is a solid or a liquid, etc. Here are some awesome slime recipes:
2. Make a Hypothesis and Observations
Ask your child to make a hypothesis about something that can be tested or observed to determine if her hypothesis is correct. For example, it could be something as simple as seeing how different temperatures of water affect yeast. Does the yeast foam when using cold water? What if the water is hotter than what’s called for? Your child could also make a hypothesis about the day’s weather or how ice is affected by different temperatures. Here is a great post on the scientific method for kids with a free printable sheet for recording hypothesis and observations.
3. Follow a Process
Following processes is another great way for children to use science. Baking bread is a wonderful activity to use for testing science skills. Your child can make a number of observations about how the bread rises, how too much salt can affect the texture and taste, etc. The process is very important if you want the right results, but so are outside factors like the air temperature and humidity as it rises. Baking bread is very scientific in the fact that not being precise can have a huge impact on the final results. Check out the links below:
4. Illustrate Knowledge
Your child show that she understands the material covered by creating a poster, diagram or 3-D model that incorporates and explains what she’s learned. For example, she might show the cycle of rainfall, how blood travels through the body, or an insect life cycle. The key is that she’s showing comprehension of the topic. You can choose almost any topic of study for this kind of testing.
5. Teach the Material
The true test of what you've learned is that you can teach it to someone else. The ultimate test of knowledge application for your child is to let her teach the material to another person. Set up a show and tell time, have her explain it to the rest of the family, give a speech in co-op, or even record an explanation, a tutorial or instructional video.
Written tests are not the only way to test science. Remember, homeschooling your child allows you to create an educational environment that is fun and encourages learning and mastery. Even difficult subjects like science can be enjoyable thanks to alternative testing methods.