Technology is growing at a rate that staggers the imagination, and kids need an understanding of technology to navigate their culture. What types of skills do they need, and how do educators and parents impart that knowledge?
Why Science is Important
Kids are born with natural inquisitiveness. To put that curiosity to its best use in exploring their world, they need to be able to use the tools of discovery. In short, that is science. So, whether children end up as scientists, technicians or farmers, they must understand how to observe, evaluate and make decisions.
Six Skills Every Student Must Have
It is vital to their well-being that kids begin learning science skills early because those skills are built one-upon-another. Here are six skills that teachers, and parents who are the child’s first teachers, must teach.
This involves observation. Kids need to learn to really see the world around them using their five senses to note what color things are, how they are shaped, what they smell like, what texture they have and, when it is appropriate, how they taste. Investigating also involves measuring and quantifying. That means using rulers and measuring cups, maps and compasses and other instruments to quantify and organize what we see.
Kids need to understand the problems that face them and be able to interpret the key issues. Then they can search for solutions. In science, that is called making a hypothesis. The abilities required are predictive skills that calculate results from changing aspects of experiments.
In science-related occupations, people must be able to communicate their findings. Often that involves learning new vocabularies and honing verbal and written language skills. The same is true of activities of daily living. Communication is a foundational skill at the base of many more advanced abilities.
The skill of inference was referenced with “problem-solving.” Kids need to be able to see how relationships between objects, forces and even people are affected when one aspect is altered, and then to predict how that change might take place.
In science, experiments are often repeated dozens of times, altering one factor after another, until the desired result is achieved. People who persevere in life succeed more often than those who give up. A much-quoted anecdote about Thomas Edison is that he “didn’t make 999 failures. He discovered 999 ways not to make a lightbulb.”
While many of the other skills have been scientific principles that carry over into every-day life, computer skills are everyday life. Kids today work with computers from the time they are toddlers, but as they grow, they must learn how to use the machines to do things other than play games.
A Daunting Task
Teachers use curriculum based upon the age of their students, while parents are often at a loss to discover ways to teach these important skills. Even teachers, however, can feel challenged when they do not have a scientific bent. To be honest, many people are intimidated by science. There are many resources such as the Adobe Information Exchange that help people feel comfortable teaching these skills, and even learning along with the students using things like science worksheets. An Internet search should help them locate these resources, many of which are free or low cost.
Science is a part of nature. It is important that we make scientific skills natural for kids.