Whether it’s helping with school homework, or home educating, or just in family discussions parents can often lack confidence with the subject of science. It’s also generally felt among parents and educators that science is perhaps not as important as Maths or English, for example.
However, science underpins everything we do, everything we need to survive, from the smallest of basics – like understanding our bodies and what they need, to the wider world – like where we get our resources from and environmental issues. Our understanding of the simplest of things under our noses is as important as the bigger planetary issues. Science affects everything so, in terms of a subject, it is perhaps the most vital.
And now, parents who are not scientifically minded need not worry that they’re not going to be able to help their children, or the subject will be too complicated, for there is increasing support through edtech.
In the primary years basic development of the subject can be laid down by encouraging skills like observation, curiosity and investigation, the basis of scientific thinking and something we can all do – scientists or not. And the growth of inspiring technology not only aids that primary development but also offers the support we need for developing the subject further, both in terms of knowledge, understanding and inspiration.
A recent article on the site edtechnology.co.uk explains how scientific minds start young with simple explorations. The really important role of parents and educators is to spark off curious minds and there are plenty of sites to help with this for the less scientific among us.
A recent initiative from the BBC; ‘Terrific Scientific’ provides a good starting point
And another resource can be found on the Royal Institution ExpeRimental site which offers activity ideas for doing simple science experiments at home with the children. It has plenty of practical suggestions for making and doing and experimenting, returning the study of science to being a more hands-on subject than a duller academic or hugely conceptual one it sometimes becomes.
Another basic one to motivate scientific minds is Science Sparks. And there are many teachers and home educators who are sharing their ideas, knowledge and resources for all to use, helping those who find science such a daunting subject to overcome the challenge of engaging the kids with it. Some researching and Googling will soon find some.
Albert Einstein is reputed to have said that ‘the whole of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking’. We could equally substitute the ‘everyday thinking’ to ‘everyday things’ for it is the understanding of everyday things that really matters. Its matters as much as Pythagoras’ theorem or subordinate clauses, complicated parts of the Maths and English curriculum that we are less likely to use or to need to understand than the everyday things we encounter through science.
Educational technology is a great tool for helping children engage with such everyday thinking and for developing those vital skills in budding scientists – and those who are helping them!