Getting Kids Interested in Science
BY Joan Whetzel
Science can require a lot of work, and a lot of math. All of which can turn some kids off. So how do you get them interested in science? By incorporating it into their everyday lives.
Incorporate photograps and photography as part of science in a number of ways. Clip photos from magazines or print them from online sites to help illustrate science projects. Have students take their own photographs for science fair aids or to show the steps in project or recipe for a presentation speech. (Yes, even cooking is a science). They can take pictures in nature as part of a study on animal habitats.
Have them investigate the technologies presented as part of the movie’s plot (forensics, sci-fi gadgets, Frankenstein’s electrical plant) and how they might work in reality. Or check into the technology to film the movie, to create the special effects (make up, explosions, wrecks, chase scenes), and to create the CG.
Television offers up a lot of shows that incorporate science, many of which have inspired an increased interest in science by younger generations. Check out these TV Stations and shows.
· Discovery Channel
· CSI and NCIS
· Science channel
· Myth Busters
Science and Food
Cooking is a science. There’s the science of combining foods, liquids and seasoning for taste. There’s the science of measurement. There’s the science of using heat, or cold, to make recipes work correctly. Any new recipe is a science experiment. The recipes that stick around, are experiments that are repeatable. There are other experiments with food that some kids may find interesting:
· Food aging, what happens to different types of foods as they age?
· What is the rotting process for different types of foods?
· Chemical reactions – vinegar or OJ and baking soda, dissolving corn starch in hot vs. cold water, dissolving corn starch in cold water and then mixing it with hot water.
· Making natural food coloring from things like beats or turmeric.
· Changes food color, texture, flavor (carrots, onions) due to the cooking process.
The Physics of Games/Sports
Kids can learn about the physics of their favorite games, sports, and sporting equipment. Check out the science of these items. What is the science that makes the sporting equipment? What is the science required to use them most efficiently?
· scooters and skates
· jump ropes
· pumpkin hurling
Science and Amusement Parks
What about the physics of amusement park rides? There’s a lot of physics and engineering that goes into how they are constructed so as not to break down or injure passengers while in operation. What about the science of g-forces felt on many of these rides? How do they affect a person’s equilibrium? Why do some people get sick while others don’t?
· roller coasters
· elevator rides
· screaming as a fear release
Science at Home
There’s science in every actions as well. Here are only a few ideas. There are so many more that I haven’t even mentioned here.
· Cleaning house
· Cleaning laundry
· cleaning supplies, which work, which don’t, which are better than others
· How the washer and dryer work, electric vs. gas
· How the AC and Heat work, electric vs. gas, dehumidifying (for humid environments) vs. wet AC and heater units (for desert environments)
· How the TV works
· How the cable and internet get to your house
· fiber optic cable or wifi and the computer
The best ways to get kids interested in science is to show them that it’s all around them. They are surrounded by science and it can be fun to find out how it all works – so they can amaze their friends.