Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Getting 'em while they're young, or how do I inspire a kid?

  1. Dec 2, 2014 #1
    So, I've got three sisters, and one of them's just starting preschool/six-years-school. She seems to be a rather quick learner (and bright, if that's something you can be at five, six), and when she's paying attention to something the younger one (who's quite creative) usually follows.

    So, naturally, and especially after she expressed fascination with the fire of a candle reacting by her waving her hand halfway across the table. I tried giving a simple explanation (Air is something!), and have done similiarly for other things that I thought might be interesting to her and the younger one. I've also tried teaching them some mathematics, but I ended up getting frustrated, which she noticed and refused to continue. Our parents teach them some counting and mental arithmetic, but they don't know the operators or how to even write numbers ("No, three-hundred and twenty-one is not written 30021" :c). Once the older knows that I think I'll introduce her to = as being a equivalence instead of "answerthingie" like you usually are taught early on in school.

    I'm very afraid I'll scare them off of science and mathematics and present it as something impenetrable their nerdy brother does, and I'd love to give some sort of less mind-numbing perspective in alternative to what they'll have to put up with in elementary school.

    How do I present it science in a fun way to such small kids? How do I encourage them to learn more on their own, whatwith internet and all nowadays!? How do I teach them such fundemental concepts like writing numbers without getting frustrated? What cool ways to start exploring these subjects are there? Should I teach them some geometry and basic algebra alongside the early arithmetic? Is there any point to starting with subjects generally popular with children, i.e. paleontology and astronomy? How do I make it feel less a "boy's club"? How do I avoid them internalising the inaccessible scientist stereotype? Sorry for all the questions, I just don't know where to start!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2014 #2
    I used to play with a software on a Windows 98 computer that explored the human body in interactive 3D models when I was 5 years old. It was a lot of fun to use and you learned a few or another stuff from it (not all of it, some things were quite complex or maybe I was just dumb and couldn't understand). My parents bought these kind of interactive games in CD-ROMs at OfficeMax and installed them on the computer.

    Maybe you can find games like that. Not exactly about the human body, but maybe about other things. If I'm not mistaking it was this one: https://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Human-Body-CD-ROM-mac/dp/0789422395

    but I'm not sure, it's being so long.

    EDIT: Don't buy that one. Reviews are saying it only works on Windows 98 and Windows 95. But there must be something similar for newer computers.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  4. Dec 2, 2014 #3

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Start with science in nature.

    Kids are active, perceptive and physical. They will likely enjoy a walk through a garden where you show them bugs and ferns and spider webs and sunflower spirals.
    Once they get the hang of looking with their eyes, and touching with their hands, they may be sophisticated enough to start wondering why these things are the way they are.
    By then they're hooked.
     
  5. Dec 2, 2014 #4

    Danger

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    For the way things move and interact with each other, I have a game that I absolutely loved to play at work. It's called "The Incredible Machine", which allows you to build your own Rube Goldberg devices in order to accomplish a set goal using supplied parts. Anything that you come up with as a solution will work in the game if it would work in real life, rather than you having to do it "just so". It's suitable for just about any age that can work a mouse, depending upon the achieved level; there's a lot of whimsy involved, such as anti-gravity discs, parrots, teakettles, etc..
    Although I own it, I can't use it because I bought it for the PC at work and it won't run on my Macs. :oldcry:
     
  6. Dec 2, 2014 #5

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It was a great game indeed.

    But I'd disqualify video games and electronic devices as a gateway to teach kids anything except how to play with video games and electronic devices.
     
  7. Dec 2, 2014 #6

    Danger

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    For most games I'd agree with that, but this was originally designed as an educational tool. A lot of care was put into the physics simulation aspect, such that trajectories of thrown objects, reflection angles of lasers on mirrors, etc. are as accurate as can be expected in something intended for kids. Even stuff like inertial resistance to the initiation of motion is duplicated.
     
  8. Dec 2, 2014 #7

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Veritasium posted a video related to education briefly mentioning how teachers should inspire their kids to learn and that can't be replaced by technology:

     
  9. Dec 2, 2014 #8
    Yes yes yes! Sunflowers are awesome! I still find them mysterious and intriguing. Like why does it takes the form it takes? I could spend a whole hour looking at them.

    Very good idea. I bet they will find it intriguing too.
     
  10. Dec 2, 2014 #9

    Danger

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    And it will be an excellent opportunity to educate them as to why one shouldn't play with bees.
     
  11. Dec 3, 2014 #10

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I was the oldest, so I had to figure out things myself, with my parents encouragement, of course.

    The schools I attended had Cuisenaire rods, which allowed one to compare objects of different length, so one could add multiple one cubes and compare to square rods e.g., 4 x 1 = 4, but also 4 x 1 = 2 x 2 = 4, and so one. One could also stack them and build towers, or do color patterns.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisenaire_rods
    http://teachertech.rice.edu/Participants/silha/Lessons/cuisen2.html

    My parents read to me, and I read to my younger siblings, as well as my children.

    By1 or 2 grade, my parents started buying "How and Why Wonder Books".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_and_Why_Wonder_Books
    I'm not sure what the equivalent is, but one can probably find children's education/math/science books.

    Don't rush or push, but have fun learning.

    Also, by second grade, and classmate and I would spend time writing numbers on a personal blackboard, usually on a rainy day. We'd try to count as high as possible, but it is a good way to see how numbers are organized. Writing times tables, or organizing multiples of principal numbers between 2 and 9, or even 10.

    Maybe one can find ideas here:
    http://www.mathsisfun.com/prime_numbers.html

    Pretty cool stuff
    http://www.mathsisfun.com/geometry/quadrilaterals-interactive.html

    There is plenty of things to discover outside, particularly with a magnifying glass, or collect specimens if one has a microscope.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2014
  12. Dec 3, 2014 #11
    Gotta say the title made me raise an eyebrow at first.
     
  13. Dec 3, 2014 #12

    Danger

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    :D
     
  14. Dec 3, 2014 #13

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    +1

    Along with "Golden Nature Guide" pocketbooks.

    These books were ubiquitous, and were nearly worn-through with use.
    Many of them are indelibly ingrained in my mind to this day.
     
  15. Dec 3, 2014 #14
    Teach them to read and buy them some books
     
  16. Dec 3, 2014 #15

    Danger

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The first money that I ever made was a quarter for herding the cows in from the field to be milked when I was 3 or 4 years old. I spent it on a Mother Goose book and never looked back. Lest you think the farmer landlord was cheap, a full bottle of pop or a gallon of gas was about 5 cents back then. Books were a luxury item.
     
  17. Dec 3, 2014 #16
    There's a certain danger:) of giving preschool kids money to buy books. In many cases they will spend it on toys or kandies.
     
  18. Dec 3, 2014 #17

    Danger

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It wasn't "given" to me; I worked for 10 minutes twice a day for a month to earn it. It was up to me to decide what I wanted to spend it on, and I chose a book.
    I continued to earn 25 cents per month doing the same thing. Most of the rest went to toys.
     
  19. Dec 4, 2014 #18
    I must admit, the title is confusing or maybe the problem lies elsewhere .. who knows :eek:
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Getting 'em while they're young, or how do I inspire a kid?
  1. How do I get a passport? (Replies: 11)

  2. How do i get avatar (Replies: 5)

Loading...