Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Blinding them with science

One day far into the future, when my son accepts his Nobel Prize in chemistry, I fully expect him to thank his Mom for doing all those "way cool" egg experiments with him on that one rainy Saturday afternoon. "Because of her," he will say, "I learned to look at the world as a place filled with answers. You just have to know the right questions to ask." And I will tear up, and it will be lovely. (Trust me.)

My Mom always helped me with science when I was younger: All those last-minute science fair projects (sorry, Mom!), the bug collection (really sorry, Mom!), the tree log (in retrospect: not as bad as the bugs) and various projects in between. She helped me, but neither one of us enjoyed it. The first bit of science I enjoyed was chemistry class in tenth grade: I didn't need any help for that one and it was a fun class.

So, that is the science I am starting with for my son: Chemistry. A study conducted by George Mason University recently attempted to find out what sparked the interest for today's greatest scientific minds. Researchers were attempting to zero in on a new way to foster a love of sciences in earlier grades. But it wasn't school or teachers that provided the catalyst: It was families. Most participants cited doing experiments at home or a field trip with their family that gave them a lifetime interest in science.

So what does that mean for our house? It means I am going to break out those easy science experiment books and start combining ingredients that make a big reaction. It means that we are going to grow our own slime and crystals and that the kitchen is going to get messy. And it means that I am going to watch my son closely to see what he wants to explore next. And hopefully, we'll find some science that we both enjoy.

What was your favorite science class in school? Share with me in the comments.

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