Summer Science Experiments Keep the Kids Thinking
This summer, my son Johnny and I are planning and attempting one science experiment per week.
Since my seven-year-old son Johnny was old enough to talk, we have talked about science.
As far as I am concerned, an understanding of the way scientific study works along with knowledge of the various subjects is incredibly important to the development of a child’s understanding of the world he or she lives in.
Psychology explains why people act the way they do and that information can ease the social struggles and self-perceptions that cause so many self-esteem, negativity, and group-think problems, especially while our youth make their way through the public school system. And carrying this on through life can ease human interaction as well as personal emotional issues.
Chemistry, biology, physics, anthropology, geology and cosmology all offer us explanations as to how the world around us operates and how we can operate within it.
Now, religion offers explanations as well, but the big difference is that sciences are rigidly studied within an established set of constant rules. And mathematical equations define what we can’t definitively test by combining logical assumptions with data.
Not to say any particular religion is wrong— we can’t prove or disprove any religion. But religion is the beside the point. Whether my son chooses to be one of the faithful is up to him, I’m just trying to make sure he has a scientific aspect to his mind for the purposes of practical application.
Televisions, video games, plastics, light bulbs, DNA evidence, landing on the moon, cancer treatments, antibiotics, digital cameras, Blu-Rays, vitamin supplements, the Internet, nuclear reactors— the list seems to go on forever. Those are all things we would be without if scientific study didn’t exist.
On the other hand, a seven-year-old can’t grasp the depth of the scientific knowledge available, so to encourage his support and enjoyment of science, I can’t just lecture him and draw pictures to help him understand. That’s where home-experiments come in handy.
When I went through the local public schools, both Kenwood and Schalm Elementary, as well as Clawson Middle and Clawson High School, I remember getting so excited when they would have science programs in the gymnasium or we would experiment in the classroom.
Remembering some while devising others, my son and I are calling this summer 2011 the Summer of Science and once every week, we will be designing and building an experiment and discussing the results.
Up first is electricity and we will be designing a simple circuit with a switch. There are many ways to do this to illustrate the flow of electricity, but before any experiment is begun, you must first explain what you think will happen (this is known as a hypothesis). Then the child can see if they were right to begin with, or if they were wrong, this gives them a chance to understand what is actually happening.
A huge variety instructions for safe and cheap experiments that you can build at home are available online or at Blair Memorial Library and are as easy as putting in the time.
Try this government-run site or this one for some other fun experiments that involve components that you can pick up from Aldi and ACO Hardware and a few things that might take you all the way to CVS.