• Question: How can I help my daughter love science? and be motivated to study it?

    Asked by mahabd to modkathryn on 24 Apr 2018.
    • Photo: Kathryn Bates

      Kathryn Bates answered on 24 Apr 2018:


      How old is your daughter? There is a series of books including “Ada Twist, Scientist”, “Iggy Peck, Architect” and “Rosie Revere, Engineer” that you might find useful. They are stories for children (around age 5-8 years) that are focused on a character that has a dream of becoming a scientist, engineer etc. They are great to read through with children and are designed to inspire them to be curious about science – I bought them for my 7-year old niece and she loves them! There is also an activity book as well now I think.

      In my own experience, I would suggest drawing your child’s attention to the creative aspects of science. Scientists are constantly predicting and testing hypotheses, which can often lead to failures and having to work out how to fix it. This is a really creative process and a fun part of science – often when children don’t like science it may be because the scientific terms and concepts are difficult to understand and connect with what they can see in an experiment. So highlighting the fun parts of science – making experiments and working out how things work – may help them see science from a different perspective.

      In terms of the research, there are various studies that have shown motivation can have a powerful influence on learning. I’ve come across a short article that neatly summarises how we can motivate children to be interested in learning science ( see link here: http://www.ngspscience.com/profdev/monographs/SCL22-0419A_SCI_AM_Butler_lores.pdf)
      Here is a brief summary of the main suggestions:
      – Making the science real – this involves encouraging children to explore science in the real word. For example, exploring an urban community and considering the transportation options and how this might affect pollution. Or exploring a rural environment and inspecting the local wildlife and/or agricultural systems.
      – Making the science relevant – what is relevant to a 6-year old compared to a 10-year old when explaining science ideas may be very different. So focusing on a child’s natural inquisitiveness and teaching them how to mould that into investigable questions will make science relevant to their own questions about the world.
      – Making the science rigorous – it is important for children to learn that science is rigorous in order for them to be able to understand concepts. Its suggested here that encouraging children to write or draw/sketch the concepts will help ground understanding, and this will allow them to keep learning and move onto more complex concepts.

      Hope that is helpful! Let me know if you have any follow up questions.

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