Taking It Home
Pleasure lies not in discovering truth, but in seeking it. — Leo Tolstoy
IN TODAY'S SESSION... the participants learned about Unitarian minister and scientist Joseph Priestley whose story embodies our Unitarian heritage of "seeking the truth in love." We shared some of the things we wonder about and did simple experiments with air pressure to explore Priestley's discovery of the existence of oxygen.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... science facts you find amazing. You might share how exciting it was when you discovered that all matter is made out of atoms so tiny they cannot be seen by the eye, or how the light we see from the stars comes from billions of years ago. Let your children know how your ideas about theology and spirituality are tied to your understandings of science, not opposed to them.
Family Discovery. Visit a science museum that has hands-on exhibits and immersive activities for children, and explore the wonders of discovery. Conduct some scientific experiments of your own at home. Many websites suggest easy projects that foster curiosity and promote learning. Try Children's Science Experiment Ideas, Steve Spangler Science, Science Bob, and the How Stuff Works website.
Family Games. Games such as I Spy and Twenty Questions encourage questioning and wonder. To play I Spy, someone starts by saying "I spy with my little eye..." and describes an object visible to all by just its color. They may name a large object (such as a house, a tree, or a sofa) or a small one (an envelope, a pencil, or an earring), as long as everyone playing can see it. The player who guesses the object goes next. In Twenty Questions, one player thinks of a noun/object and the others ask yes/no questions to determine what that object is. Again, the player who guesses correctly goes next. Because they need no game boards, cards, or other paraphernalia, these games are great to play on the road, in an airport, or on a nature hike.
Find a crossword puzzle, word search, and other quizzes on Joseph Priestley on the State of Pennsylvania's history website.
A Family Ritual. Bedtime is a natural time to share our wonder about the mysteries of the world. Consider creating a night-time ritual of asking "wonder" questions: "I wonder how old the light from those stars is" or "I wonder what people are doing on the other side of the Earth where it is daytime already." Your questions need not be answerable; in fact, it is probably best if they are not. Speaking them out loud in the darkness as you cuddle together or just before climbing into bed as you gaze out at the night can elevate wonder questions to a spiritual practice.