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Science by the Grade
Kids are learning reading, math, and science thinking skills all at the same time.
• Create a rich environment of books, things to do, field trips and walks around the neighborhood.
• Talk to your child about what you're doing, all the time, everyday. Make it a two-way conversation and ask her questions.
• Add simple questions when you read that prompt observation and conversation; use simple math or science words: "Do you see three bunnies in this picture?" "How is the frog is different from the toad?"
Getting into the spirit of science and liking science are what count the most.
• Encourage questions about nature and help your kids seek the answers;
• Count, measure, and organize collections of things;
• Encourage your child to make her own personal observations;
• Let them know that everyone can do science and invent things and ideas;
• Encourage your daughter's or son's investigations, tinkering, and exploration as "fun."
At this age, kids are able to do their own simple science experiments alone and in groups.
• Help your son or daughter set up simple home experiments: "Which one has more water—an ice cube or a snowball the same size?"
• Help them communicate about what they've found, by telling you or writing, making charts or pictures;
• Help your child understand that the comparing, investigating and testing they're doing is what scientists do;
• It's not too soon to introduce them to science careers and different types of science through reading (science adventure and biography), visits to the Science Museum, and science fair experiments.
Math and science get harder. Kids should be doing more exacting experiments and testing in the classroom. Parents may feel overwhelmed by trying to help their children understand the math or science they bring home. Kids start to think about careers.
• Talk to your child's teachers about your child's work in science and math.
• Make sure the school offers progressively more difficult math and science courses;
• Have a positive attitude about science and math—it reinforces your encouragement;
• Introduce your kids to friends and family members who work in science or technology;
• Visit the Science Museum, a nature center, or place where their interest in science can be fostered.
Students are actively thinking about and researching colleges. By this time, they should be preparing for science, health or technology careers by taking advance science and math classes.
• Check the classes they're signing up for to make sure they are taking the ones they'll need;
• Register for a summer or weekend program in science or math, especially one that offers pre-college credits;
• Introduce them to adults in career areas they might be interested in;
• Continue to support them in finding internships, seasonal jobs, or summer classes and workshops in science-related areas;
• Help them research scholarship options as well as college choices;
• Take them to visit colleges that have the kinds of coursework they're looking for;
• Continue to take an interest in their school projects and homework.
Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy, Project 2061, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Oxford University Press, New York, 1993
A Parent's Guide to Raising Scientifically Literate Children, National Education Association