Getting your kids into Science via Science News

Mad Science
"Mad Science” by Clearwater Public Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I read yesterday that the Global STEM Alliance, through after-school programs, are recruiting kids into fields of science I couldn’t dream of when I was a kid. The New York Academy of Sciences is fostering scientific curiosity in kids as early as elementary school with the hope that they will be more STEM ready when they get to college. The article spoke of a 14 year old son of a single mom who was recruited into the Oscar Lemus’s robotics team through the program. (You can read more about that here)

In the Past –

I think I grew up in an age where science was considered a field that either geniuses got into or the privilege of the rich. They also used to say that Doctors beget Doctors, Scientists beget scientists. I don’t know how much of that belief is based on truth but now, in the 21st century, you can see a significant change in attitude towards science as a career. You read every day about people from humble backgrounds going on to do great things. All it takes is a passion for the subject.

Current Trends –

Apart from all the science related programs, scholarships and competitions that are coming up, it is noteworthy how even museums are becoming hubs of scientific education. By introducing interactive displays that make the learning of science less passive and more fun, they are encouraging kids to grow up to love science. In England, there is a festival of geeks that happens in Milton Keyes. ‘It is like a music festival but for people who like to make things. Or as they put it, a temporary village of geeks.’ They have found that there are more and more kids attending over the years.

How Science News Helps–

If you want to raise a science minded child, I would suggest that the best way to get your kid interested is through reading them science news for kids. I can’t pinpoint when the habit started but my kids now insist I read out the latest happenings instead of bedtime stories. I remember their squeals of excitement when I told them that India has had a great success with its Mars Orbiter Mission. They were off planning their own missions, their own interstellar vehicles and have already written down potential names of all the new planets and galaxies they will discover.

Here are some of the ways in which Science News helps –

• They help develop scientific thinking – it has less to do with learning texts by heart and more to do with the process of finding out.
• It helps keep your child occupied in a healthy way. Scientific curiosity leads to scientific experiments and there is no greater way to fill your play time than to turn it into a learning experience
• They teach your kids not to give up – Every great story has within it a tale of trial and error and mostly the lesson that every failure is a stepping stone to greater innovations.

I found a very helpful list of Top 5 websites to keep up with science news, it’s a good place to start building your own li’l scientist. Remember that there is nothing as powerful as a kid’s imagination and when combined with their curiosity, you have a double whammy.
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brionnasimpson

Author:brionnasimpson
I am an assistant teacher and my aim is to curate unique learning tips and techniques customized towards kids.

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