See also: Six Strategies for Raising a Scientist or return to the Articles Index
Symptoms of a Future Scientist

Is your son or daughter a scientist in the making?
Here are some indicators.

1. They collect stuff. You can tell this on laundry day, when you find all of those treasures in your children's pockets. Those bottle caps, stones and mummified raisins are the signs of a scientific mind at work. The first activity of any great scientist, from de Vinci to Darwin, is to collect stuff, organize it and classify it. So, the next time you take your child for a walk on the beach, remember that those sandy shells and pebbles are actually symbols of a young scientist at work. Support this activity by bringing along an egg carton for sorting and help your child classify the objects into similar groups.

2. They ask millions of questions. Get ready... young scientists will drive you crazy with some amazing questions. These endless inquiries may seem silly to you, but remember... they reflect children's attempts to make sense of the world around them. Instead of merely giving an answer, or making up something silly, model the behavior of the scientist. "How do you think we could find out what slugs eat?" Often, if direct observation is not possible, the answer can be found on the Internet.

3. They have strong opinions. These opinions, theories or hypotheses often lead to arguments. Instead of correcting a child who thinks that all black ants are poisonous, help him or her use the Internet to research the situation.

4. They live and breathe science. Future scientists never rest. They come in from the backyard excited about a strange bug they've discovered. Don't forget that the best opportunities for science learning happen in everyday life, far removed from a classroom. We recently watched two elementary-age children in a heated discussion about where the water droplets come from that appear on outside of a glass holding a cold beverage. Does the glass leak? If not, where does the water come from? This was the start of an excellent discussion on condensation and humidity, abstract concepts that young minds struggle to understand.

(from the July 00 issue of CSR)




"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled." Plutarch.


See also: Six Strategies for Raising a Scientist or return to the Articles Index

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