Science is fascinating. It lets us discover and understand the world better. However, the focus on exams in school takes the joy out of learning the subject. We often hear students complaining that tests teach nothing in real life. Showing your children that science is everywhere will help them appreciate it more. Here are a few tips to interest them in learning Science.
Make it Fun
Children learn better through active play compared to mundane methods like rote learning. Making science fun lessens the fear towards the subject, holds children’s attention for longer periods and encourages them to make use of their five senses. A way to increase the “fun” factor is to take trips to wildlife reserves and science centres. The Singapore Zoo is the perfect place to learn about different kinds of land and sea animals. The Science Centre has interactive exhibits to pique children’s interest in all areas of science. You can also conduct small experiments at home for your child to have a better visualisation. For example, placing an egg in salt water and observing the result. Don’t fret if you think you’re not good – there are many science blogs online that inspire home experiments, complete with scientific explanations. Not knowing the answers may also be a blessing as you can bring your children through the learning process and discover the answers with them.
Include Real-life Applications
Science is all around us. Show children the real-world applications of scientific concepts. It lets them see the relevance of what they have learnt in school and how science helps to solve problems in society. Here are a few ways you can point these out:
There are so many opportunities to explain scientific concepts at home. You can teach concepts in the kitchen like the boiling and melting points of water and how a microwave oven heats up food. You can also show the science behind their favourite hobbies and toys. If your child loves music, you can explain how you can play the different sounds of a string instrument by varying the length and frequency of the string. A wind-up toy and old analogue clock can be learning tools for gears. If your child loves acting, you can dress him or her up as a scientist with a mini lab coat on!
A day trip out with the family presents many chances to engage children with science. The playground has a lot of inclined planes (slides), levers (see-saws) and pendulums (swings). Children and adults have lots of fun too! Bring a magnifying glass to the park, nature reserve or the Singapore Botanical Gardens. There may be a chance to see insects in the different stages of the life cycle, for example at the pupae stage or a caterpillar waiting to turn into a butterfly. There are also various types of veins on leaves to explore. To show how science can have a direct impact on society, visit the NEWater Visitor Centre to learn how science is pivotal to ensuring Singapore’s water security.
Children are naturally curious about the world. Allow them to ask questions and do not push them away. However, try not just to give them the answer directly. Encourage them to hypothesise about what the answer may be and discover it together with them. You can do it through supervised experiments at home or online science applications. Do not rush through the explanations as well. Let your child observe and fully appreciate the concept before moving on.
Science can be a truly wonderful subject when children can see its application in their lives. Going through the concepts with them in a less stressful manner reduces the fear associated with the subject. Learning through fun methods arouses their curiosity and also creates precious bonding sessions.
It’s now time to grab a magnifying glass and put your thinking caps on. Happy discovering!