Raise a Science-Lover

Schools still aren’t devoting enough resources to this critical subject, but you can bring science to life with these hands-on ideas.

According to koodakpress، My three kids are natural-born scientists. They’re full of questions, always experimenting to see how things work, and mesmerized by watching a tiny ant carrying a morsel of food. So when my daughter, Stella, started kindergarten, I was shocked to hear that her class studies science for only one hour each week. When I searched for stats to make the case that this wasn’t as much as other schools, I pretty much came up empty. Surveys show that science instruction in elementary schools averages around two hours per week, and in some districts it isn’t taught at all until middle school. “The intense focus on math and reading in recent years has crowded biology, chemistry, and physics out of the grade-school classroom,” says Janice Earle, former program officer at the National Science Foundation. Even when these subjects are taught, teachers tend to have little training and lack the resources to lead experiments, which are crucial for sparking interest in science. No wonder only about a third of fourth-graders have a solid grasp of scientific principles, according to the most recent national assessment.

If that doesn’t concern you, it should. A report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology found that we need to increase the number of students who receive science-related college degrees by 34 percent annually during the next decade simply to keep up with economic demand. Encourage your child’s teachers and principal, as well as district leaders, to add more science instruction to the curriculum. Since budgets are likely to be an obstacle, you’ll boost the odds of success if you can offer a solution that’s cheap—or, even better, free. Maybe you can find a geologist who’s willing to lead field trips, or organize parent volunteers to help run workshops. If lobbying and organizing aren’t your style, there are still plenty of ways to inspire your own child to fall in love with science. Follow these steps to help unlock her inner Madame Curie.


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