By Billy Burle
‘If America is to maintain our high standard of living, we must continue to innovate. We are competing with nations many times our size. We don’t have a single brain to waste. Math and science are the engines of innovation. With these engines we can lead the world. We must demystify math and science so that all students feel the joy that follows understanding.’ — Dr. Michael Brown, former Nobel Prize winner for medicine and the Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas
There are lots of discussions taking place about the need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education reform and I certainly agree the system needs reforming and additional programs should be available to elementary and middle school children. However, the education system isn’t the only education resource our children have. As the proud parent of a bright and creative little girl, I feel part of the responsibility rests firmly on my shoulders. I discovered that there are lots of fun ways to encourage learning and a sense of scientific wonder at home. In fact, if this past summer had a theme it would have been the Summer of Science in our house.
First off, I introduced my daughter to the TV show MythBusters, which she loved! Not only was she entertained but she understood all of the cool things they were doing (including blowing stuff up) were based on science. Since MythBusters typically ran on Sundays, we decided that would be the day for our weekly at home science experiments. I found a ton of online resources that offer simple and fun experiments you can do at home with common household items. Over the summer we built a volcano, made a lava lamp in a cup, made a tornado in a bottle, wrote with invisible ink (this one was fun b/c our first attempt didn’t work so we had to tinker with different approaches), cleaned pennies with chemistry, and turned clean washers into a copper color just to name a few. Below are a couple of the links that we used to look up experiments:
Science Bob – http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/index.php
Science Kids – http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/experiments.html
Who would have thought studying science over the summer would have been so much fun 🙂 I encourage you to have fun and help “demystify math and science” for your kids.