If I’m honest, I’m intimidated by the thought of teaching science to my children. I enjoyed aspects of science as a kid. But, I was naturally drawn to subjects like history and literature. As a parent and educator, I whole-heartedly believe that science is a crucial subject to teach. Science teaches kids to ask questions and explore how things work. Our world is growing rapidly in the areas of science and technology. We can’t ignore this subject and adequately prepare our children for the future.
I consider myself a nature nerd. Though I don’t know as much as I should about plants and the natural world. That is actually a current self-improvement goal of mine. I want to be able to do things like identify birds and plants and trees. And, though it is an area of knowledge that I am still growing in, I want to educate my children about our world and how we can care for it. And I believe understanding how our world works from a scientific perspective is essential.
In this way, science gets me really excited. We are in an age of discovery, especially when it comes to things like renewable energy. There are lots of important future careers in areas of science. We shouldn’t neglect to teach them! If nothing else, we at least need our children to be educated voters someday as more and more clean-energy initiatives enter the political realm.
Need some resources and ideas to get you started?
- A great spring board into the discussion of renewable with kids grades 6 and up is this TedED video on energy. It also comes with a handy quiz at the end to see if your child was paying attention. 😉
- Explore what it would look like to do more STEM education at home. Also seek out local programs at places like your library.
- Teach your children how solar energy works. If possible talk to or visit a friend or local business using solar energy. Let your child ask them questions about installation, how much it costs, etc.
- Study different forms of natural, renewable energy from a historical perspective, like the water-wheel.
- Get hands on by conducting experiments at home, visiting renewable energy plants (Yay field trips!), and setting up opportunities for your kids to explore via online resources.
- If you can’t take a physical tour of a renewable energy plant, check out this amazing virtual tour of IVANPAH a Solar Electric Generating System.
- Energy.gov is chuck full of resources from hands-on activities, to internships, to videos, games and more.
- Related to the topic of energy and taking care of our natural resources is the topic of recycling. Recycling opens up ample opportunities to get active while learning. Plus, it is a topic that can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages. Education World has several lessons and activities you can do to create application, as does Rethink Recycling.
- Don’t just data dump on your kids. Take time to apply what you learn. Discuss it together beyond mere facts. Empower your child to be a creative thinker and problem solver.
- I am a huge believer in the interconnectedness of subjects. Study energy use throughout history. Read about the Industrial Revolution by authors like Dickens. Embrace the beauty of our earth through nature journals, writing and reading poetry, and photography or art. (It can be done. I once wrote a poem about wind turbines because I found them so memorizing and oddly beautiful.)
- Books like Thomas Locker’s Sky Tree: Seeing Science Through Art (affiliate link), Cloud Dance, and Water Dance are beautiful springboards for learning and discussion with young ones that combine literature, art, and science. Looking at topics through various subjects and perspectives helps children problem solve in creative ways. It also helps them look at all the aspects of a topic. For example, many advances in science cause great moral and ethical concerns. These concerns may be better understood by looking at historical examples, following current studies and tests, and studying subjects like philosophy and ethics.
Finally, I would be amiss if I didn’t remind you that in all things we need to strive to point our children toward God. And when it comes to nature and science there are ample opportunities to talk about what a detailed and miraculous creator our God is. Whether it is the expanse of our universe, or the microscopic cells in our bodies, God designed it all.
What resources have you enjoyed using with your child? Do you have a favorite movie or book that tackles this topic?