Promote science at home

How you can help at home: Here are tips for helping your child engage in scientific thinking.

By Dr. Fred Stein, Consulting Educator

How can you promote science at home? Encourage scientific thinking and provide science opportunities for your child. Model curiosity. It is the most essential trait of a scientist. Ask questions and express an interest in finding out more about what you notice and read. See if you can find out answers to questions by trying things out.

Some questions lend themselves better to casual experiments than others, such as "Will seeds in the fruits and vegetables we eat grow?" Others require consulting a resource such as books, the Internet or experts. It's most important to communicate the idea that you can find out answers to your own questions, and that the most reliable answers are the ones you find through your own experiments because you don't have to take someone else's word for it.

Promote an interest in science by:

  • Visiting a science center, zoo or aquarium
  • Gardening together
  • Building something together such as a solar cooker or a windmill
  • Watching science programs on television such as Zoom, Beakman's World, Bill Nye: The Science Guy, or Mythbusters
  • Purchasing or borrowing books from a library on topics that interest your child
  • Participating in programs that expose children to nature, such as scouting or 4-H

Dr. Fred Stein

is a science educator at the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry, a national elementary science education reform project based in San Francisco. A former high school biology and math teacher, he was also the education director at the Science Discovery Museum in Acton, Massachusetts. He holds a doctorate in science education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and teaches a science education course at UC Santa Cruz.

Dr. Fred Stein is a science educator at the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry, a national science-education-reform project based in San Francisco.