3 September 2013 11:07 AM

Kids Need Science Mentors Especially

by rbavaria

In our last Dr. Rick Blog, we talked about the importance of mentors for kids, adults who can inspire, motivate, and encourage our kids to succeed.  Teachers, coaches, folks in our communities, neighbors, tutors, family – they’re all sources of support.

I made particular mention of science, technology, engineering, and math, the STEM subjects that form the basis of so much learning.  Along with language arts – reading, writing, speaking, and listening – these subjects are crucial for today’s schooling, tomorrow’s college and job training, and lifelong learning.  Girls and boys.

Science and the related fields are particularly important today.  Mentors who can show kids the power of science can put students on a road to personal and professional success.    Here are half a dozen reasons why kids need to learn science and why we adults need to encourage and mentor them to do so.

  1. Don’t get left behind.  It’s a tech, tech, tech, tech world.  Show them that just about every cool gadget, tool, game, or device everybody wants today has a pretty strong tech connection.  
  2. Get ready for the jobs of the future.  If they really want to have an exciting and maybe even fun career, they’re going to have to have a solid foundation in science.  Medicine.  Aeronautics.  Automobile design.  Manufacturing.  Robotics.  Genetics.  Forensic crime solving. Video game design.  Animation.  Athletics.  (Yes, athletics.  You think professional swimmers don’t know about wave dynamics?)  Music.  Movies.  Military.  Fashion.  Theatre.  Weather.  My nephew just got his heating/ventilation/air conditioning certification and a job he loves.  You’d never believe the science he needed to know.
  3. Be science literate.  We make all kinds of life decisions based on science, so we better know what we’re doing.  Health decisions.  Medical decisions.  Family decisions.  Farming, ecological, driving, construction, and spending decisions.  They all involve science.
  4. Roll your sleeves up.  The best science education is hands-on.  Your kids should be telling you about the experiments they perform in school, the engineering projects they design and build, and the innovative ideas they have for the science fair.  Tactile learners, those who need to touch and feel and move, are the natural audience for science classes.  Science teachers can be inspirational.  If your kids are learning science from texts only, ask why.  I repeat, science class should be hands-on.
  5. Build those skills.  Learning science lets our kids build lots of tangential skills.  Critical thinking.  Curiosity.  Teamwork.  Research.  Perseverance.  And, of course, the subject most closely associated with and integral to science, math.
  6. Don’t forget the gifted and talented kids.  Really smart kids need our support and encouragement.  They need to have teaching that challenges them and stretches their talents.  They need help in discovering their interests and gifts, in learning with peers who have similar interests, and in boosting their confidence.  Science topics, labs, and projects are perfect for them.


Here’s  a really cool video that kids will love.  So will adults.  It’s a great wide-eyed introduction to engineering’s importance in our world.  If I were the sponsor of an after-school Lego Club, I’d be sure to show this to the children.  “Look at what creative engineers can figure out.  What are some other ways engineers could demolish a building safely in a crowded space, without explosions or implosions?”  When kids brainstorm, look out!



9/10/2013 9:14:35 AM

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New Ways to Learn Science

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