Wednesday, January 14, 2009

At least one daily serving of science

While pondering my future, I recently asked my older son "Kerm" this question:

"If Mommy wrote a book for other Mommies and Daddies about how to enjoy science with their children, what should Mommy write about? What would kids like?"

I expected Kerm to tell me that his interests, robots and outer space, would make good topics.

Instead, he answered me thoughtfully. "Some of the kids in my class don't like science. When I tell them that science is my favorite subject, they say that they hate science."

"That's really sad," I said.

Kerm nodded. "Science is how you figure stuff out."

I like that definition. For Kerm, science has a place in his life. But I wonder about the other second graders. Has science already become something that they feel separate from? If science isn't encouraged in the home, will kids still connect with the subject?

In Kerm's class, they only teach science twice a week. I've asked around, and this seems to be the norm where we live. This doesn't make sense to me. Science seems as equally important as social studies, mathematics, or reading/writing.

And how can you teach math without science? Science is a wonderful way to apply math. Who wants to measure a piece of paper when you could be measuring how much your plants have grown?

Maybe we should develop an education pyramid, kind of like a food pyramid, to ensure that everyone gets a daily serving of science.

Mama Joules' younger son
contemplating the mysteries of bubbles


CricketB said...

Good teachers will incorporate science, but not by name, in most of the cirriculum. (The best will incorporate almost everything in every class, but not to the point where hating one spreads to the other.)

Reminds me of the discussion of school reading lists and such over on Jane's blog. Much "good literature" will turn kids off reading.

There are people who don't like to know how things work. My MIL is one. She just can't get it, and it makes her uncomfortable. Even discussing why I cook awesome steak and she doesn't bothers her. (Her recipes are mostly cover and bake, and not time critical.) I've shown her several times how to use the lever on the corkscrew, and she still tries to pull. For her, things don't have insides.

Cheryl M. said...

You're lucky. Science is not scheduled into my first grader's day as far as I can tell. I have started talking to other parents about the fact that they get music twice a week and art twice a week and isn't science at least as important?

jublke said...

CricketB, your story about your mother-in-law threw me for a loop! I just assume that everyone is interested in how *something* works and that if we can just find that key for them, it would help them engage in science. Your comment that "for her, things don't have insides" made me laugh.

I agree that in an ideal world, every teacher would incorporate science into the curriculum. But I agree with Cheryl -- I am baffled as to how we (at least in the US) complain about our kids falling behind in science and technology -- but we aren't teaching it to them!