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Renowned chemist Marie Curie once said, “A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: He is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.”
However, according to the National Research Council, students’ interest in learning science begins to decline once they reach middle school, and this lack of interest can last through high school and even college (“A Framework for K-12 Science Education,” 2011).
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Whether you’re a science teacher or a parent, kindling a love of science in your charges can be easy and fun. Check out these tips for inspiring your little scientists at home or in the classroom:
Get your hands dirty: Science is all about experimentation, and the more hands-on, the better! Explore science through creative and fun experiments that use common household items. Encourage your kids to dig in and uncover the joy of discovery! Need some ideas for fun science experiments? Check out Science WoRx’s video lesson plans or search YouTube for fun demonstrations.
- Ask one question a day: Questions like “Why is the sky blue?” and “How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly?” can help kids to see that science is an integral part of our everyday lives. Reinforce their natural curiosity by encouraging your kids to ask one question every day, and work together to research an answer for it.
- Make a science video: Once you get the hang of experimenting, try filming your own version of a science demonstration. Presenting a science demo to an audience not only builds presentation skills, but also helps kids solidify what they learned.
- Make real-world connections: Discuss real life applications of the science lessons your kids are learning in school, and always try to relate how real scientists use this information. If you have friends or family members who are scientists or work in a field with scientists, engage them in a discussion with your children about what they do for a living. Or better yet, invite a real scientist into your kids’ classroom – either in person or virtually via an online video conference – through Science WoRx’s Virtual Science Pro program.
- Explore the great outdoors: Spring is the perfect time of year to get out and explore nature. Children can learn so much by observing the plants and animals around them. Encourage them to take notes on what they observe, and return during a different season to discover the differences.
Parents, you can also help teachers continue to fuel this love for science by making sure that they have the resources they need in the classroom. Tell your children’s science teachers about the Science WoRx 2013 Make My LabWoRx contest: Your kids’ school could win up to $6,000 in gift certificates for lab equipment! Read more about the contest here.
Science WoRx (pronounced “Science Works”) is a mentoring program and online resource network to support science teachers’ needs in and outside the classroom. Created by Astellas Pharma US, Inc., the program seeks to increase understanding of the role that science plays in human health and medicine, and to inspire the next generation of scientists. Science WoRx connects science teachers across the U.S. with real-life Astellas scientists, or Science Pros, in the classroom either in person or virtually through a series of video lessons or via online video conferences.For more information, visit www.ScienceWoRx.org or join our community on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ScienceWoRx and on Twitter (@ScienceWoRx). To access Virtual Science Pro resources go to: http://www.youtube.com/AstellasUS.