Saturday, April 15, 2006

'Sciencing' with kids

As parents, let us not forget that science thrives on experiments and activities. Science is the how and why of things.

Young children should have scope for innumerable activites. Adults should never have the temptation to give out all the information before its pertinence ever occurs to children.

Science ought to be fun, adventure. Once while I was teaching in highschool, we had an opportunity to put up science exhibits for the All India children's Exhibition organised by National Council for Education Research and Training, New Delhi. I selected a few students to work on the project and they had to stay back after the school hours. One of the students who was scoring well in exams said "I do like to stay and work, Sir, but my mother doesn't want me to join. I am supposed to get a rank in the Tenth Standard Examination". This parent never understood the true nature of Science and how her kid's study should progress. She wanted her kid to be a bookworm, a walking encyclopaedia. She never wanted her child to have any fun.

Let us understand well that science is better learnt through activities, experiences, experiments and projects.

Children's experiences need to be real, concrete and tangiable. We should never get carried away by just contents and facts. Link experiences to children's life. Then they will feel a desire to know.

Remember, these young children will control the world tomorrow. Then they need to develop a better understanding of natural and physical phenomena. There is great drive on the part of children to know and get answers.We need to nurture the ability of kids to ask questions and seek answers.

I have seen kids expressing, "I have lots of questions, but our teacher asks us to keep shut!" Encourage children to ask questions. Keep yourselves cool, patient and discuss with them. Time spent on answering children's questions is in no way a waste of time.