8 March 2010 11:24 AM

Why Kids Should Study Science

by Dr. Rick

Recently I took in a presentation on biomedical engineering and robotics at The Johns Hopkins University.  I stood transfixed as I learned about the seemingly limitless field – instruments for physicians and surgeons, fascinating research (including the study of one of nature’s most resilient creatures, the cockroach – yuck), and, truly, the growth field of the future.


Science isn’t only for nerds any more!  (If it ever was.)  Indeed, it’s for all of us, even for us quaint English majors!  If our kids aren’t studying science, if they’re not aware of its significant role in our lives now and in the future, if they’re not curious about the science behind those video games and tech gadgets they rely on daily, then they’re going to be left behind.  Seriously.


So why aren’t we working harder to get our kids interested at earlier ages in the sciences?  If the jobs, careers, and workplaces of the future are increasingly science-related, if the field is so rich in human, medical, economic, and personal potential, why aren’t we purposefully guiding our kids toward where the action is?


Some thoughts.

  1. We need science literacy.  Life is complicated, probably more so than ever before.  We make decisions every day based on our scientific knowledge – about smoking, about what we eat and drink, about the cars we buy and drive, about the homes we live in, about the global and local environment, and about the issues we’re asked to vote on, like the space program, nuclear energy, off-shore and mountaintop wind farms, and other complicated topics.  As citizens, we owe it to ourselves and to future generations to have a reasonable understanding of these important topics.

  2. Kids are hungry for exciting learning.  Yes, kids love to learn, and the more exciting, the better.  We adults in their lives – their parents, teachers, coaches, clergy, scout leaders – have a responsibility to steer them to new discoveries that capture their imaginations and ignite new interests.  Medicine.  Aeronautics.  Automobiles.  Robots.  Genetics.  Forensic crime solving.  (A confession.  I’m hooked on CSI: NY.) Video game design.  Animation.  Athletics.  (You think those outfits at the Olympics are for style only?  Think again.)  Music.  Movies.  Military.  Fashion.  Theatre.  Weather.

  3. Science is for all students.  The sciences can appeal to all types of students, especially those students who don’t get our immediate attention – the bright ones who need special nurturing, the bored ones who need an extra spark, the curious ones who are always asking “Why?”, the fidgety ones who need to be touching and feeling and doing.  A science lab, with the right teacher and equipment, can be every bit as exciting as the sports field, the stage, or the concert auditorium.

  4. Science builds many skills.  Besides the important math skills that come with science, don’t forget about the confidence, motivation, perseverance, critical thinking, and teamwork skills that come with the practice of science.  Each of these skills is important for increased learning and also for the jobs of the future.

  5. And it’s fun.  Want some cool ideas for science experiments you can do at home, like crushing soda cans, floating bowling balls, slime-making, dancing raisins, and how to “bend” water?  Check out Science is Fun and discover lots of interesting ways to introduce and nurture an interest in science in kids.  I enjoy Bill Nye the Science Guy, too.  He always has an interesting take on science topics.

Science is part of everything we do, and it increasingly takes a prominent role in our lives.  Insist on plenty of science in your kids’ schools, the best science teachers, up-to-date facilities, and an engaging curriculum.  Let’s lead our kids to active involvement in the future and engaging careers that fulfill them and help others.




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