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The Top Ten Concepts I need to teach my kids?

  1. Sep 2, 2015 #1

    What are the key concepts of Maths and Physics that every parent should ensure their kids know?

    Major focus of this I am concentrating on is one a strong basis for them to be informed and backed with key knowledge to allow them to be curious and explore and learn.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2015 #2
  4. Sep 2, 2015 #3
    Teach them to be curious. Seriously, that's the only "concept" I think they need to know.
  5. Sep 3, 2015 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    What age kids are we talking about here?
  6. Sep 3, 2015 #5
    And maybe to "investigate/ask about" the things they are curious about.

    I know a lot of people that wonder about stuff but just accept it after a while in which they cannot figure it out.
    My response is think -> google -> think some more.

    Maybe "critical thinking" could be added. E.g. learn them to not accept the first semi-plausible explanation as is.
    Because charismatic and engaging presenters can sell a lot of bogus information. This we do not want.
    The media requires some skepticism as well these days.
  7. Sep 3, 2015 #6


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    Science Advisor

    I don't think that teaching them things which aren't a part of your life will have a lasting, positive impact. On the other hand, if things are a tangible part of your life, you probably don't have to specifically teach them. So my advise would be to ask yourself, what is important to me and do I give these things enough space in my life.

    I think this is especially true for the scientific method / skepticism / curiosity. So I would especially try not to pretend to be the omniscient parent and be honest when I can't answer a question or realize that I don't understand something as well as I thought I did.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
  8. Sep 3, 2015 #7
    1. When you don't know stuff, just admit it and guide them towards finding a solution, this will promote curiosity and self-discovery. Computer savvy people are savvy only because they know how to describe their problem properly and use google.
    2. The scientific method (see first post)
    3. When you see an ad that is a trap for unschooled people, discuss about it. What does "up to 40% more" mean?
    4. Statistics, this is the most important

    • An anecdote is not data
    Use learning occasions when you see them to drive home the point that an anectode is not important to judge if a medicine works, that statistics matter, and that they're limited in their usefulness by the external influencs on sample.
    • Correlation does not imply causation
    You can make this funny:

    Teaching them this stuff will protect them from conspiracy theorists (especially anti-vaxxers) and multilevel marketers.
    Maybe it's too advanced for kids but preteens are usually not ideologically cementified and they're big enough to discuss stuff.

    • The house always wins/Lottery - the tax on stupidity
    Gambling is another thing that disproportionately hits low income people who lack secondary education.

    • Then there is the man who drowned crossing a stream with an average depth of six inches. ~W.I.E. Gates
    understanding the difference between a mean and a median wage is important for politics.
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