Mr. Hanck's Home Page


I teach third grade science at The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Chicago, Illinois. The Lab Schools was founded by John Dewey, a philosopher and progressive educator who believed that children learn best when they are allowed to experience and solve real world problems. The Lab Schools continue to search for innovative and creative approaches to learning.

All the links on this site are suitable for young children. As always, parents should supervise their children when they use this or any internet web site.

Third Grade Science 2013-2014

Click to print Science Handout for Parents (pdf)


Once each quarter third grade science students do a project related to the science curriculum. Check this page for updates through out the year about project deadlines, suggested resources, tips, etc.

In the Fall quarter students will build their own Ice Cube Coolers (a device to keep an ice cube from melting for as long as possible). This project is part of the study of states of matter--solids, liquids, and gases.

In the Winter quarter students will make their own inventions as part of the unit on Simple Machines and Inventions.

And in the Spring quarter students will build habitats to house crickets as part of the unit on Insects.


































OUTDOOR EDUCATION: Why kids and adults need to explore the outdoors more often

I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel when introducing a young child to the natural world. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil.

Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder

As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the sighing of the trees.

Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth

It is not necessary to teach kids to love nature, because curiosity about and attraction to living things are tendencies every child has from birth. But it is vital to give children experiences that allow them to nurture and express this inborn connection and attachment to nature and other living beings. How children experience nature--nature considered in the broadest sense as natural places where living things grow and flourish such as an overgrown city lot, a grove of trees, a muddy ditch, or a small pond--how they interact with it, seek it out or avoid it, play in it, reshape it, love it or fear it—shapes the kind of adults they become and shapes their attitudes about and living things and the natural world.

Outdoor education is one way to create opportunities for children to build a stronger connection with nature. All children need to eventually learn about the science of ecosystems, ecology, biology, and geology. But it is important to recognize that the world of the child, especially the young child, is a subjective, imaginative, and emotional world:  a world where facts are often secondary to and interpreted through the child’s psychological and emotional needs. Children need to learn more than scientific facts about plants and animals:  they need to experience nature on their own terms, in a wide variety of natural settings, and under developmentally appropriate circumstances. At the Lab Schools we are committed to developing programs that give children opportunities to interact with plants, animals, and the outdoors in ways that will strengthen children’s innate connection with and love for the natural world.