I think it’s sad that kids lack the curiosity or motivation to get involved in certain subjects – maths and science particularly – and whatever is happening at school, there are some ways to get children interested in science. It seems to be a common issue between the US and the UK that not enough girls are pursuing higher qualifications in science and math. The governments (and celebrities such as Will.i.am) are trying to do something about it, but if you appreciate we live in a scientific world, there are ways to get children interested in science you might want to pursue for your own family.
This is one of the fundamental ways to get children interested in science. You pull it right back to basics, and the basics of every science is to come up with a theory and then test that theory fairly and correctly until you are sure of the results. You should then be able to recreate the conditions of the test and predict the results as a consequence. This may seem a little heavy for a child, but this simple premise works for every type of science, from creating a mini-volcano, to the incidence of garden weeds.
It is a little difficult for adults to be able to understand how science applies to real life, so if you can ingrain the idea into a child early on, then you set them up to become well rounded and more thoughtful adults. Start with basics such as how you get beans into a sealed can, or how a dehumidifier works, and why the back of the refrigerator seems to always have beads of water there. When you show a child that the world is not just the way it is by accident, they will start to take an interest in how and why the world is and therefore, all things science.
All of the ways to get kids interested in science means not being afraid to get down to details. Don’t just show your child a steaming kettle - explain it and show diagrams on how it works. You will be surprised at how interesting things such as physics becomes. Plus, there is more than one science; there are actually quite a few, so show your child the variety that science has to offer.
Gas compression is a scientific principle, and you can show it with fireworks. Your home heating system works on physics principles, so show your child how he or she may be warmer by doing certain things. Next time you use the microwave, explain how it works. Any time you see anything undergo a process of some kind, take the opportunity to explain how it works.
All we have left to discover is either space or the furthering of science. There are no more unexplored islands or secret tribes in forests. Science means standing on the shoulders of giants and pushing ever forward. Encourage an interest in science by explaining to your child that if he or she wants to explore the unexplored, then science is where they can do it.
Why is the rabbit related to the Chinchilla? How come the world’s continents and countries look like they all fit together like a jigsaw? If you can encourage how and why questions, then science will become more interesting to a child as it provides the answers to their questions.
As a measure of difficultly, getting a C in any one of the three sciences is a lot harder than getting a C grade in any other subject. Comparatively, the effort it takes to get a C in other subjects is the work you would need to put in to get an E grade in science. One of the worst ways to get children interested in science is to indicate its difficulty. Instead, let them know that it is a challenge, but that part of the fun of science is overcoming the challenge. Compare it to computer games, explaining that the fun in computer games is the challenge. That is why people do not just keep playing the first level on computer games.
It really doesn’t matter that you feel like you know nothing about science. Simply, your life experience and own general knowledge will help you get kids interested in science as long as you encourage it. Do you agree we need to be encouraging an enthusiasm for science – particularly among girls?
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