How do you cultivate an interest in science and math among children?
Science and math are the key to the future. That's where the jobs are, and that's how we advance as a country and as a species. However, the media is filled with messages that math and science are uncool, that they're too hard, and that only geniuses can be good or successful in those subjects. How do you fight these perceptions and get kids interested in these subjects?
Science isn't difficult to get people interested in. All you have to do is combine a few chemicals in front of them and they will be interested if it changes color or blows up. Math is much more difficult and I have never found a way to be interested in it myself.
If they don't like it when they are younger, they will find out in college that women want an intelligent male who can take care of them. This includes a handy-man, cook, sales man, business man, all in one. However, I've never found a way to get women interested in these if she doesn't want to be.
Have them learn by doing, spend time with them and demonstrate the importance and helpfulness of knowing both. Don't isolate the 2 subjects; they are meant to be together. For example, to understand Pythagorean Theorum (math), you could have the learner(s) measure out from the corner of porch or deck 3 feet and 4 feet respectively and then ask them if the corner is square (90 degrees). When they look puzzled, simple teach them that if the distance is not exactly 5 feet (the hypotenuse) between the 2 measurements then it is not square... Also there are some excellent video games that instruct math and science; allow them to play these (for awhile). For example, the best one I can remember is The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain (1980s). By playing this game you can actually learn science, math and improve your IQ. Green Gobs and Graphing, is an amazing math game that teaches algebra... Pre-schoolers love it as well as middle schoolers...
Science and Math are scarey enough for students of most ages without the help of the "geniuses" making it that much more difficult. However it isn't hard at all to get most children interested and active in both subjects first of all both pretty much can go hand in hand and by doing simple experiments with the kids they can learn about science and math at the same time and love it. For example my first year of home schooling my son I used gardening as a science and math lesson. He used charts, graphs, ect. for math and learned soil stages and growth charts for science. All very simple and very effective.
From what I've heard and read, music is extremely prominent in the developement of math skills. Then I'll go old school and say find a way to make learning fun. After all these years, Sesame Street can't be wrong.
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