World Space Week runs from the 4-10 October and it’s a celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of human life. This made the Elves really ponder on the formation of planetary nebulae; but most importantly it made us wonder – how can parents help children get more interested and involved with science? Science fanatic Jim McDonald from Heebie Jeebies shed some light on his own experiences and helped answer a few questions!
What do you love about science, Jim?
The trouble with the mention of the word “science” is that we probably think of the enormity of it all, because everything around us and what we do is science. This could leave us feeling as if it’s all too much, and we’ll never know it all. It’s true that we will never know everything, but when we appreciate that the things we personally enjoy in life are all science related, it can make parts of the topic real to us.
The things I especially enjoy are being outdoors with the wind, the sky, the temperature, the light, the smells and the sounds, the huge and the tiny detail of it all. Just spending a little extended time in the garden or at the beach can bring new discoveries no matter how clever we think we are or how old we (really!) are.
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At what age did it become an interest of yours and how?
The first interest for me was being outdoors and finding insects in the garden, probably from the age of four or so. We wouldn’t have thought of this as science, but strictly speaking the outdoor life such as riding scooters and billie carts up and down hills, climbing trees, mixing up mud in a bucket, watching water flowing downhill, looking at the day and night sky, are of course all science related.
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What do you think children can gain from getting into science from a young age? And how can parents get their children interested?
Success starts with observation and doing, trying out new things for better or for worse, being unafraid of showing how little you might know. Parents can help by sharing the experience of re-discovery and new discoveries with their children – by exhibiting delight and enjoyment with them when discoveries are made. We must let them know that it’s OK and desirable for them (and us!) to exhibit wonderment and lack of knowledge thus far. Let’s as parents help to break down the mammoth topic of science into much smaller parts that are relevant to us personally, tackling them individually when the opportunity arises. Living things, health, the connection of all living things, cooking, our behaviour, food, growing things, the earth, weather, time and space.
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It would be great if we could communicate to them that, as they grow and become adults, they could really help themselves and others if they have an interest in any of the many parts of science.