Getting Kids Excited About Science!
Hard to believe Spring Break 2013 is already upon us! As we say goodbye to winter and welcome spring, I challenge you to encourage and promote your child’s interest in science at home and in the community. As your child’s first and foremost educator, you have an important and critical role in supporting science education. Research shows that when parents play an active role, their children achieve greater success as learners, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial background, or the parents’ own level of education*. Many science activities can be conducted with materials found at home or outside. Try to include science activities in daily routines and remember to use scientific language; show your child how science is part of their everyday life and yours!
Take a Trip to Adler Planetarium
Provide your child with an informal learning experience, like a trip to the museum, which will expose them to informal theories, content, and knowledge about a wide range of topics. During their trip, your child will practice early forms of data collection and evidence evaluation by constructing explanations to link theory and evidence. You can support the development of these skills by helping your child wonder, asking your child open-ended questions, and encouraging your child to ask questions. The level of structure you provide depends on your child’s stage of development, their interests, or their ability.
Take a Science Walk in Your Yard or Park
A walk around the yard or park can provide opportunities for you to talk about science with your child. As you explore the outdoor environment, encourage him or her to observe the things that they see. Have them bring their notebook and other scientific tools (magnifying glass, binoculars, telescope, etc.) to closely observe things in nature and record pictures of things they observe. As you are walking (depending on the time of year and time of day), stop and observe the following: leaves, flowers, bugs, water, grass, mud, rocks, sticks, snow, ice, Moon, and stars. Ask your child to observe the items with and without the scientific tools and compare the similarities and differences.
Plan a Science Activity at Home
Believe it or not, your home provides many opportunities for interesting, engaging science activities! Your child can learn about change and surface tension by creating their own bubbles using dish soap. Give your child a straw and ask them to blow air through it as they move the straw through the bubble solution in a dish (dish soap and water). Encourage your child to create multiple sized bubbles. When the bubbles enter the air, have your child touch a bubble to see what will happen. Then, have them touch another bubble with wet hands, to see what will happen.
Don’t miss Charter One Family Weeks at the Adler from March 23 through April 7 as we celebrate the return of the sunny days of spring. Join us as we explore the wonders of Earth's closest star with family workshops, scavenger hunts, and hands-on exhibition activities as part of our Sun-Days of Spring Celebration! The Adler also has special extended hours from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm from March 15 to April 7.
*(PTA 1999; Henderson and Mapp 2002; Pate and Andrews 2006)
Colleen Incandela is the Senior Educator for Early Science Programs at the Adler Planetarium