Kids are naturally inquisitive. They poke and prod at lumps of soil to see what kind of worms they can unearth. They marvel at the non-Newtonian fluid you can create by simply adding cornstarch to water. And they could spend hours on end at the local science centre if you let them.
As they get older, that inquisitive spirit doesn’t go away – rather, it matures. They take that same enthusiasm with them into high school as they explore the biological classes, the fundamentals of chemistry and the behaviour of the natural world through physics.
How do you support their passion for science as a parent? How do you make science accessible, fun and engaging – around the house and at school? This article explores how to encourage young teens’ love of science by offering four primary tips.
Consider Planning Ahead for Higher Level Science Courses
If your teen shows a knack for science, consider planning ahead for advanced high school science courses. A fantastic way to go about advancing your teen’s scientific education is through an online high school. Online courses are self-paced, which means your teen can complete a course in less time if they feel comfortable with the material. In this way, their courses always match their proficiency (rather than age group).
Look into chemistry courses like SCH4U (Grade 12 Chemistry), advanced biology courses like SBI4U or university prep physics courses like SPH4U.
Curiosity underpins all scientific endeavours. If it weren’t for Newton’s intrepid sense of curiosity, that apple would have fallen off his head with little consequence. Had Einstein not gazed up at the stars with curiosity, there would be no modern physics.
Therefore, encourage your teen to ask lots of questions, no matter how small or obvious or silly they believe the question is. For your part, try to answer those questions, but don’t sweat it if you don’t know the answer. You can research things together or suggest resources where your kid might find answers (their science teachers, the library, credible websites, etc.).
When did “mistake” become synonymous with “bad”? In the world of science, some of the most significant discoveries are born from mistakes. Without brave scientists willing to try and fail in their experimentation, there wouldn’t have been nearly as many earth-changing breakthroughs.
If your young learner feels crestfallen after making a “mistake,” whether in school or their private academic pursuits, try to reframe it as a learning opportunity.
Research STEM Camps
Nowadays, you can find several STEAM camps catering to an array of subjects and niches. There’s something for every interest, from computer science coding camps to physics retreats and biology-focused wilderness outings. Although summer seems far away, look into STEAM camps early to see if anything interests your teen. Camps aren’t just an excellent way for kids to further their education – they can also be a place to make like-minded friends.
Be proud that you have a science-lover in your household. Nurture their interests by encouraging curiosity, enrolling in online science courses, reframing mistakes and researching enriching STEM camps to attend.