Helping Your Child Learn Science - Important Things to Learn

Important Things to Learn

Basic Concepts

Elementary school children can be introduced gradually to nine basic scientific concepts--ones that all scientists learn. These concepts are listed at the end of this handbook. The concepts provide a framework into which scientific facts can be placed.

We will introduce three of these concepts (in this section) that you can easily introduce to your children at home or in the community. The activities described in the next two sections of this book are based on these concepts, as are many other simple science-related projects.

1. Organization

Scientists like to find patterns and classify natural occurrences. We can encourage our children to think about objects according to their size or color--for instance, rocks, hills, mountains, and planets. Or they can observe leaves or insects and group the ones that are similar.

2. Change

The natural world changes continually. Some objects change rapidly; some at a rate too slow to observe. We can encourage our children to look for changes in things:

3. Diversity

Even very young children know that there are many kinds of objects. One thing to do is help your child explore and investigate a pond. Within and around a single pond (depending on the size and location of the pond), there may be tremendous diversity: insects, birds, fish, frogs, turtles, other water creatures, and maybe some mammals. Looking at a pond is a great way to learn about the habits, life cycles, and feeding patterns of different organisms.

Integrity

The early years of elementary school are a good time to start teaching children scientific ethics. We should tell them how important it is to be accurate about their observations (by nate at testsforge). They need to know it's all right to make mistakes--we all make mistakes, and we can learn from them. But explain that important discoveries are made only if we are willing and able to correct our mistakes.

Help your children understand that we can't always take someone else's word for something. That's why it's important to find out for ourselves.

back to The Basics - on to the Activities at Home