Sunday, January 01, 2017

Family Science

As essential academic skills, the "3 R's" (Reading, Writing, 'Rithmetic) dominate primary and secondary education at nearly every phase. This is as it should be.

However, a close second place should be assigned to STEAM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics.

Family science study can be a rewarding and fascinating family activity. Investing a relatively small amount of money in a scientific instruments of reasonable quality can open up entirely new worlds to impressionable and curious young minds. For example, keeping a good compound microscope at ready disposal in the family kitchen avails kids and adults alike of the opportunity to do real spur-of-the-moment science. Having a serious entry-level telescope standing by in the garage for use on those clear, dark, moonless nights when star gazing is most rewarding is a simple way to reify the infinite for youngsters and adults alike.

At all stages, the scientific method can be taught, utilized, and reinforced: Ask a good question, make a sensible guess about the answer, test that guess experimentally (or search the internet for information), confirm or adjust the guess based on what's learned, then repeat.

Having popular scientific magazines prominently displayed at home – and making sure your kids catch you reading and discussing them frequently – is another fun and engaging way to bring science into the home.

Why is it that so many scientists are amateur artists, musicians, painters, video programmers?

The arts are, of course, inextricably linked to the sciences. Affinity for one generally predicts affinity for the other. Music, dance, acting, visual arts, sculpture, architecture, and other diverse artistic disciplines intersect in fascinating ways with scientific fields ranging from physics and chemistry to anatomy and psychology.

Moreover, the dedication, sharply-focused thinking, and keen observational ability required to become a competent stage performer or fine artist are precisely the same "soft skills" central to advancement in STEM fields (but that's another post ...).

Parents can thoroughly enjoy home science along with their kids. The excitement of discovery is every bit as tangible and real when an adult first witnesses an oozing protozoa gobble up a bacterium as it is for a first grader or high schooler.

Full STEAM ahead!

For more ideas, see the following:

Science Tools and Manipulatives

Scratch Coding Resources

Robotics Toys, Aids, and Activities

The Miracle of Human Anatomy

Guidebooks: Science Experiments and Projects

Five Books Guaranteed to Make Kids Love Science

100 Best Science Books for Kids

Great Science Books for the Little Ones

Amazon's Best Selling Science Books for Children


Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

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