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Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Bill Nye’s Tips for Getting Kids Excited About Science

Bill Nye.jpg

Bill Nye, the ‘90s television icon, the teacher who helped kid-me understand topics like buoyancy and momentum, the man whose mission it is to help make science more accessible to the masses, is back. (Not that he ever left—he’s always been really, really busy.) These days, Nye is teaming up with Nintendo to help promote the just-released Nintendo Labo and is getting ready for the premiere of the third season of his Netflix show, Bill Nye Saves the World. At a time when science instruction time is quickly declining in elementary schools, I asked our favorite Science Guy what parents can do to get kids excited about the subject he loves most.

Don’t Wait

When it comes to catching the science bug, that incessant hunger to understand how the natural world works, Nye says there’s a cut-off age. “When we did the Science Guy show in the 1990s, we had very compelling research that 10 years old is as old as you can be to get the so-called lifelong passion for science,” Nye says. “And I think its about as old you can be to get a lifelong passion for anything. When did you want to tell stories?” The motto in his business: “Science every day in every grade.” There’s really no such thing as “too young.”

Know the Power of Algebra

If your middle school math teacher didn’t quite make the message clear, let Nye tell you again: Algebra is important. “Here’s one thing that has been shown: Algebra is the single most reliable indicator of whether or not a person pursues a career in math or science,” Nye says. “It’s not clear that it’s cause and effect. It seems to be. Learning to think abstractly about numbers apparently enables you or encourages you to think abstractly about all sorts of things and so one change we could make in education is getting people interested in letters representing numbers earlier in their academic careers—that is to say, third grade rather than seventh grade.”

Focus on the Why

It’s not enough for a teacher to stand in front of a classroom and make kids recite the words “Molecules are made of atoms …” Kids learn through stories—they need to know why science is important in their lives. In all sorts of everyday situations, explain to them how science is at work. “I don’t have polio because I got the polio vaccine,” Nye says. “I am alive because my grandparents did not die of the Spanish Flu in 1918. I really like calling a car from my phone rather than wandering around looking for a pay phone to call a taxi. This is all brought to us by science.”

He goes on. “I was just talking the other day to this guy about his tires. Tires now are guaranteed to go 60,000 miles or 80,0000 miles. When I was a kid, tires would go 15,000 miles and then my parents would have them thrown out and have new tires put on. We feed 7.5 billion people because of agricultural technology. It’s extraordinary. Science, people!”

For whatever career your kid might be interested in, talk about how science will be necessary—there’s just no skipping it. “Suppose you were at a party and people are standing around talking and someone says, ‘I never learned the alphabet. I thought it was arbitrary.’ Can you imagine? In the same way, we want science to be part of your education no matter what you end up doing, whether you become a lawyer or a venture capitalist or a plumber or an electrician or a care provider or a circus performer.”

Work With Video Games, Not Against Them

Nye has been hearing the question for years: “Are video games messing up my kid?”

“There’s always concern expressed about video games,” Nye says. “These kids todayWhen I was young, doggone it … Look, the video game is going to be in your household.” Believing that video games can help kids get excited about STEM, has teamed up with Nintendo to promote the Labo, a series of DIY cardboard kits for the Nintendo Switch. It ingeniously melds gaming with making—the screen guides kids as they build real toys they can play with, from a fishing rod to a piano to a robot suit. “It is inherently hands-on,” Nye says.

“I became a chemical engineer because I’m a tinkerer,” Nye adds. “I tink.” He remembers playing with cardboard boxes as a kid. “There’s nothing better,” he says. “The refrigerator would come in a huge box. I mean, oh my God, come on, that’s living. You could crawl inside and it became a tank. And all the forts you could build! Monsters cannot penetrate cardboard. It’s very well documented.”

Let Kids Play

To help kids learn and gain confidence, sometimes moms and dads need to get out of the way.

You can provide them with materials to experiment with—perhaps a pair of socks for them to test their nerves or a penny, eye-dropper, glass of water and some dish soap to explore cohesive force. And then see where they go from there. “Kids love science,” Nye says. “The people who have trouble with science are the parents. Let kids be fearless. Let them mess around. Let them find out how the world works for themselves.”

 

This article was written by shared by Michelle Woo to Lifehacker and Michelle Woo on Offspring from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Density Experiment!

Young children benefit from active, hands-on activities that foster scientific learning. You can inspire your little scientist’s interests by conducting this easy and fun density experiment at home! Encourage your children to ask questions, learn from their mistakes, try again, explore new activities and come up with solutions.

density-experiment

Click here to watch the video or check out the complete instructions below!

Materials

  • Clear jar or container
  • Lightly colored water (blue or green works best)
  • Wooden block
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Marble
  • Bottle cap
  • Corn syrup
  • Plastic figurine
  • Coin
  • Flower petal
  • LEGO bricks (or other small items)
  • Eraser

Procedure

  1. Pour the water into the jar. Pour corn syrup into the jar. Pour the oil into jar.
    1. What happened to the liquids in the jar?
    2. Why do you think this happened?
  2. Make predictions about what will happen to the different objects before dropping them into the jar. Take turns dropping the objects into the jar.
    1. Were all of your predictions correct?
    2. If any predictions were not correct, why do you think the results were different from the predictions?

 

Chemistry Experiment: Milk Fireworks!

Science is more than test tubes, microscopes and formulas. And children have a natural curiosity in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

Scientific thinking involves asking questions, learning from mistakes, trying again, exploring new activities and coming up with solutions. Children are natural scientific thinkers, and they want to learn and solve problems.

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You can encourage your little scientist’s interests by conducting this easy and fun chemistry experiment at home. Click here to watch the video or check out the complete instructions below!

 

Materials

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Whole milk
  • Cotton swabs
  • Red, yellow, blue and green food coloring
  • Shallow tray

Procedure

  • Pour enough milk in the tray to completely cover the bottom of the tray and allow the milk to settle. Add one drop each of the red, yellow, blue and green food coloring to the milk. Keep the drops close together, but not touching, in the center of the tray of milk.
    • What does this look like?
  • Before completing the next step, explain to the group what you will do next and have them make a prediction about what will happen. Then, touch the tip of a cotton swab to the milk in the center of the tray. Do not stir the mix, but gently touch it with the tip of the cotton swab.
    • What happened?
  • Have the group make a prediction about what will happen next. Place a drop of liquid dish soap on the tip of the cotton swab. Place the soapy end of the cotton swab in the middle of the tray and hold it there for 5 to 10 seconds.
    • What happened?
    • What do you see?
    • Why do you think that this happened?
  • Add another drop of soap to the tip to the cotton swab and try it again. Try placing the cotton swab at different places in the milk.
    • Did anything change?
    • What do you think will happen if we keep doing this?

Baking with Children

  • twenty20 - BakingPut on aprons. The mess is part of the fun;
  • Older children can crack the eggs and measure wet and dry ingredients, while younger children can participate by pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl;
  • Show children that oil and water don’t mix by letting them stir the mix;
  • Create cut-outs with cookies cutters;
  • Be sure to encourage creativity and imagination when decorating your creations. Use festively colored frostings, sparkly sanding sugars, gumdrops, pre-cut fondant or homespun shapes. These are perfect for little fingers and make wonderful cookie decorations;
  • Don’t forget to taste test your creations;
  • Go with your children to deliver a plate of cookies to a neighbor or the local senior center. Giving and sharing can make children feel good.

Five Ways to Encourage STEAM Learning

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STEAM learning (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) has become a vital part of early childhood education. STEAM concepts help prepare children for life in the 21st century. After all, STEAM-related jobs make up one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. economy (Baird-Remba, Guey, & Lubin, 2013). This is expected to increase over time as children eventually join the workforce. Here are five ways you can encourage STEAM learning at home.

  1. Take a field trip. Museums, zoos, aquariums, libraries and even public parks provide many opportunities to introduce STEAM subjects. Be sure to engage your child, ask her what she would like to see and ask whether she would like to learn more about what she has seen.
  2. Watch STEAM-related TV shows and movies. While screen time should not be solely relied upon for education, there are many ways it can help enhance your child’s learning experience. Things like documentaries and educational programming may strengthen your child’s understanding of STEAM subjects.
  3. Conduct experiments. Many fun and easy science experiments can be done at home with simple household items. You can find some ideas here. You can also help your child keep a journal of the experiments she completes and record what she learns from each one.
  4. Encourage questions. Children are naturally inquisitive, often asking “why?” or “how?” Following this thread of curiosity may lead to a STEAM subject which interests your child. If you don’t know the answer to your child’s question, research the topic with him.
  5. Ask your child what she would like to be when she grows up. Many careers are tied to STEAM learning. Help your child find out more about the field she wants to pursue and what she needs to learn to get there.

References

Baird-Remba, R., Guey, L., & Lubin, G. (5 June 2013). 14 US Industries That Will Boom In The Next Decade. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/americas-fastest-growing-industries-2013-6

Five Benefits of Teaching Children to Garden

Break out the seeds and bulbs because gardening season has arrived! Here are five benefits of showing your children how to garden.

  1. Gets children outside and active. Digging, planting and watering on a sunny afternoon are _72O8441_terrific ways to get some exercise while enjoying the beautiful weather.
  2. Children learn about science and the environment. This is an excellent opportunity to teach your child some basics of biology, such as how the sun helps plants to grow, how plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis and how vegetation contributes to a healthy environment.
  3. Teaches children how vegetables and fruits grow. Growing fruits and vegetables gives your child a look into small-scale farming and may encourage an appreciation for the process that brings produce to grocery stores.
  4. Encourages healthy eating. Planting a vegetable garden can lead to healthier meal times because children are more likely to try vegetables they have grown and veggies usually taste better when they are fresh from the garden.
  5. Inspires responsibility and a strong work ethic. Maintaining a garden can help children understand what the rewards of hard work are and how taking care of something requires diligence and persistence.

Three Easy Science Experiments Your Child is Sure to Love

IMG_2672_philly_00429Children have a natural curiosity in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). You can encourage your little scientist’s interests by conducting the following easy experiments at home.

Milk Fireworks: Pour whole milk into a baking pan. Add drops of red and blue food coloring. Add a “squirt” or two of dishwashing liquid, and watch the colors burst and swirl! When the “fireworks” slow down, add another couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to get them going again. Explanation: The soap separates the fat from the other liquids in the milk, causing patterns to appear.

Dancing Raisins: Put raisins (or dried corn or macaroni) in a clear cup. Fill the cup with lemon-lime soda. Watch how the raisins bob and sink in the cup. Ask your child what makes the raisins do this. Explanation: The gas bubbles in the soda lift each raisin up, and when the bubbles reach the surface and pop, the raisins sink.

Salt & Vinegar Pennies: Put ¼ cup of white vinegar into a clear plastic or glass bowl. Add one teaspoon of table salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Dip a dull, dirty penny halfway into the liquid, holding it there for 10 to 20 seconds. Remove the penny from the liquid. What does your child see? Explanation: Salt and vinegar create a weak acid that dissolves copper oxide, which is the tarnish on a dull penny.

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Thinking about Science

The Goddard SchoolScience is more than test tubes, microscopes and formulas. Scientific thinking involves asking questions, learning from mistakes, trying again, exploring new activities and solving problems. Children are natural scientific thinkers, and they want to learn and solve problems.

Young children benefit from the active, hands-on activities that foster scientific learning in every Goddard School classroom. Encouraging your young scientists at home is easy and fun. As you try the following activities with your children, talk about what is happening, ask questions and encourage them to describe what they see.

  • Bake with your children. Watch yeast rising, or see what happens if you don’t follow the recipe carefully;
  • Grow flowers or a vegetable garden. Chart your plants’ growth and note any changes. Enjoy harvesting your garden together, and let your children help make a healthy salad for your family;
  • Visit a farmers’ market or a farm to learn about animals, the effects of weather on plants and more;
  • Take apart an old clock or phone and reassemble it;
  • Make steam or watch ice melt;
  • Look for patterns in the natural world, such as the lines in bark or the symmetry of flower petals. Describe the sights, smells and sounds you experience on a walk;
  • Offer your children magnifying glasses;
  • Visit a children’s museum or natural history museum;
  • Go outside at night and look at the stars;
  • Ask your children what will happen when you roll a ball, walk a Slinky down stairs, manipulate clay and use other items, and then test their hypotheses. This can be a lot of fun.

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.