Just get out there and do science

When I tell people what I do (geologist), most will say, “I’ve never met a geologist before. That’s so interesting.” While I don’t do what people probably imagine a geologist might do, the foundation is important. I still consider myself a scientist.

This report is about a study that says parents apparently want to encourage their kids in science but don’t feel they are equipped to do so. From Science Daily: Parents Need Help Encouraging their Kids in Science http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510092004.htm

I have never been asked to speak at my kids school. I never get asked to speak at community events. People don’t typically inquire at my workplace about meeting scientists or having them speak to groups. I’ve been asked to speak about specific issues, but not about a job in science. Therefore, I believe most people think they have never met a scientist but we are really all around them. It’s not some esoteric subject. It’s a shame that our culture has stereotyped scientists as the brainy, socially inept white male in a lab coat with unkempt hair. That’s really inaccurate.

Here is where TV can help.

I know. TV is bad. It mostly is. But shows like Mythbusters have made science into family fun time. There is no excuse for parents not to be introducing their kids from ages 4 and up to Mythbusters as a gateway into thinking about how the world works. That is science. So, for parents that feel sleepy at the thought of watching David Attenborough documentaries, cue up Mythbusters on the tube to watch and talk about together. Then, get outside and look for bugs, fly a kite, put Mentos in soda, count the birds, look at the stars, examine dirt with a magnifying glass, hike a nature trail, watch the clouds, collect things at the beach, plant seeds, start a rock collection, identify wildflowers… I could go on and on. Just get out there and observe the world. It’s not that hard.

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idoubtit

Http://SharonAHill.com

2 thoughts on “Just get out there and do science”

  1. Bah, forget Mythbusters! That just shows parents that one day their kids can grow up to have facial hair and rock a beret! Make’em watch Fringe… parents can rest assured that while their kids might end up slightly insane (or since they’ll be smart, probably be labeled “eccentric”), they’ll have cushy government positions with unlimited expense accounts, and if anything happens to a family member they’ll be able to rip a duplicate from an alternate universe. That trumps making ping pong ball cannons anytime.

  2. My daughter (7), son (9), and myself make it a regular thing to watch Mythbusters together. We have favorite episodes, especially because I’ve purchased the DVDs all the way back to the beginning so I could show them wonderful episodes like “Ping Pong Ball Rescue” and “Boom Lift Catapult”. When I first showed my kids the show, they spent weeks thinking about experiments they could do themselves, and although we didn’t do many experiments (mainly because most we thought about weren’t safe or possible) it encouraged us to think and talk about the world in a rational fashion. Now whenever we watch a new episode (and sometimes when we rewatch our favorites) we spend time during and after discussing what we think about them; what we think of the results, what we think of the methods, what we wished we could’ve seen, and the like – and when they encounter things they don’t understand in real life, it’s very easy to encourage them to think about them in a similar, critical way. Good job Mythbusters!

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