Did your child go through a phase where they asked, “Why?” all the time? You’d provide an explanation – and get another “Why?” Then another. And another! Children are inquisitive by nature, and this type of curious questioning should last a lifetime. Kids are natural-born scientists, and fostering their curiosity will shape them into lifelong learners, problem solvers, and creative thinkers who understand that “failure” is just an opportunity to ask different questions. How do you encourage scientific thinking skills at home?
Tips for Nurturing Scientific Thinking Skills
- Let’s Talk Science. It’s all around us. If you see something interesting, point it out. Ask your children questions, such as: “What would happen if there were no bees?” “Why do you think there’s a stripe in that rock?” “Hey, do you think it’s a good idea to bring dinosaurs back, like in Jurassic Park?” Bring up current events, too. Science isn’t just a class at school: it’s life!
- Provide Scientific Resources/Materials. Books, movies, magazines, and other resources can spark your student’s interest in science. If your child loves rocks, go to the library and check out some geology books for kids – and then identify some in your backyard. If they’re interested in robotics, buy an inexpensive tin can robot kit on Amazon. Or fire up YouTube and select a video or documentary to watch together on any subject you can imagine. This reinforces the idea that, when they have questions, there are different places to go for answers.
- Do Some Investigating. Whether it’s making a vinegar/baking soda volcano or dishing up some kitchen science, take a few minutes to do an experiment with your child. There are plenty of ideas online and inexpensive kits you can purchase. Or ask us: your child’s science teachers have a few tricks up their sleeves as well!
- Take a Field Trip. Whether you visit a natural science museum, participate in interactive exhibits, tour a farm, or visit your local park, going out in the field brings science to life.
- Encourage Both Girls and Boys. Sometimes, implicit bias can get in our way. There is no gender-based disposition towards science (or math, writing, art, or dance, for that matter!). Girls should be given the same opportunities as boys when it comes to learning and practicing scientific thinking skills.
Bonus Tip: Learn About Your School’s Science Programs. At Rosarian Academy, we are implementing an exciting new program this year: Discovery Education. This terrific program provides training and development for teachers and incorporates technology into the science curriculum. And, of course, it emphasizes that science is super awesome! Ask Mrs. Rielly or Ms. Henry for more information.