Parents Encouraging Scientific Thinking

As I discussed in a previous article, the gender gap in science and math is likely due to parent expectations and attitude. It is very important for parents to nurture and encourage scientific thinking in both boys and girls.

Scientific thinking is not a mysterious concept that can only be accomplished by a select few. Scientific thinking is simply being curious and questioning the world around you. Most children are naturally curious about their surroundings. Children need direction in helping to find answers and make sense of their observations.

Parents do not need a science degree to help their children excel in science. Likewise, a child does not have to become a chemist to use science in his/her life. Science is used in many everyday activities and careers. Therefore, we should encourage our children to explore science no matter what he or she has in mind for the future.

Our world is changing rapidly. Our children’s future will greatly be based on science and technology. It is the parents’ duty to ensure that the children are prepared for this type of world. Parents can use the smallest occurrences in everyday living as science lessons for their children. Scientific learning should occur at home before children even begin school. Due to science being shortened in most curriculums, it is important that parents continue scientific thinking with their children during the school age years.

Encourage your child to ask questions. You do not have to know all of the answers. Children often do not need long detailed explanations. However, you should be willing to help your child think of possible answers, test their hypothesis, and investigate books or other sources for more information. Listening to your child’s explanations will help you determine how much the child knows about science and his/her world. A child’s experiences in life often help him/her form ideas. Therefore the more exposure your child has in life, the easier it will be for him/her to think and formulate answers on his/her own.

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