Early Childhood

Children and Science

Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:30 AM

At what age do you think children start making the connection of science to exploration and discovery? When do they start understanding that science is all around them? It's one thing to tell them and allow them to be engaged in it, but when do they start to understand it?

McKenzie Erisman
McKenzie Erisman
215 Activity Points

Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:49 PM

I like what Mary said. Children are naturally curious and want to know more. They LOVE doing experiments and "being" a scientist. As for their being a magic age when they become aware of science, that is difficult to assess. I think it would also have to depend on what type of environment they have in the classroom. Does their teacher allow them to experiment and get a little messy with science? Do they use some science vocabulary? I often have students look for examples of what we are working with in class, outside of school as their homework.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
83366 Activity Points

Yesterday, 5:56 PM

Children are exploring from the moment they are born. Whether it is simply discovering that objects are moving in front of them or exploring sounds and textures in their play pin - they are in fact exploring. I worked in a Montessori school for almost two years and watched 3-4 year old scholars explore their hands on activities that enabled them to see that science and math are intertwined in each activity. As you mentioned, we can tell and allow students to explore and discover that science is all around them but we must ask questions, design investigations and most importantly encourage our students to think critically "like scientists." Children are capable of exploration at any age but we must give them the proper environment and teach them important skills to make connections independently. Here is a great starting tool and tips to help you and your classroom delve into the world of connecting science to discovery: http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/science/tips/exploring-science/

"Science is not simply about knowing information—it is equally a way of trying to make sense of the world."

Asmara Mengisteab
Asmara Mengisteab
30 Activity Points

Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:24 AM

Hi McKenzie--

Your question is an interesting one. From my experiences, young children are naturals at exploring and discovering. They might not call it "science" but their behavior is scientific -- observing, asking questions, noticing cause and effect, describing, and not being afraid to be wrong or to make a mistake. I wonder why as students get older they may seem to lose their curiosity and intellectual risk-taking -- is it from the school's focus on content, the grading system, distractions, being in a teacher-focused environment?

In terms of understanding science, the more experiences students have, the better they'll be able to make connections between new information and experiences and previous ones, with these connections leading to greater understanding. Some students may need reminders--"remember what happened when you...").

I'm curious about the context for your question. What have you observed in young children? Thanks for making me think!

Mary B

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
7505 Activity Points

Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:20 PM

I think if students are introduced to science as being all around them as they are experimenting, then they will learn it simultaneously regardless of what age they are at. For example, if the teacher explains and reiterates how a particular experiment is relevant to that students' life as they are experimenting, those students will be able to make that connection and understand/retain that concept furthermore. Therefore in my opinion, no matter what age a student is, if he or she is given a connection to their real life from the science experiment, they will associate science as being all around them.

Aleena Naqvi
Aleena Naqvi
20 Activity Points

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