Here at Nat Geo Channel, we believe that smarter is better – a belief that is reflected in our Emmy-nominated hit series Brain Games, an interactive show full of illusions, challenges and experiments that showcase the extraordinary nature of the human brain. We hear frequently from families who watch it together, “compete”, and even accidentally learn something – and we’re thrilled at the response. For the past few days, we’ve been talking to education bloggers to get their take on the importance of science education, and ways to make science fun.
Melissa Taylor at Imagination Soup dives right in, sharing how she uses an invention kit called MaKey MaKey to foster inventive thinking and build confidence. She shares her daughter’s positive experience with the tool writing, “Not only did my daughter practice her scientific method skills, she also grew a head taller in confidence. Watching her confidence grow as she experimented and invented showed me that I don’t need to worry. She’s got mojo. All I need to do is facilitate opportunities for it to emerge. And so can you.”
Amanda at The Educator’s Spin On It discusses what her household does to encourage and support children’s natural curiosities. She shares, “We try to do a combination of short one time experiments, such as testing the nutrient levels in our soil and extended time experiments such as observing the differences in growth patterns of plants with different amounts of sunlight over a 2 month time period.”
Megen at Coffee Cups and Crayons, discusses various ways to teach kids critical thinking skills by encouraging experiments that use the scientific method. One critical step is allowing children to reflect on the new skills they learn post-experiment. She recommends, “Allow kids to think about and come to conclusions about the new things they have learned. Putting together information and analyzing it helps to develop higher level thinking skills. The more kids get a chance to practice drawing their own conclusions the better critical thinkers they become.”
Karyn at Teach Beside Me shares her favorite simple science experiments for kids, which include everything from testing the PH of household items to creating homemade bouncy balls. She writes, “We adore science experiments at our house. I think experimenting and learning the hows and whys of science in a hands-on interactive way is the best way to learn and really make it interesting. We have done lots of fun simple science experiments in the past and I thought I would bring them all together in one post to make them easier to find! Science can really be so awesome! Add some explosions, some color, chemical reactions, sounds or smells and science is just downright COOL!”
And finally, April, who is an Attitude and Determination Control officer for the International Space Station and blogs at Nerdy April, writes about the importance of science lessons in America’s classrooms at a national level. She shares, “At a classroom level, we need to equip teachers with the technologically rich lessons necessary to facilitate science education; we can’t afford not to. At a parent and community level we need to plant the seeds of science and curiosity, and actively cultivate them. And at the student level, kids should be encouraged to vocalize goals and act on them!”
To read more be sure to click over for the full posts, many of which include some amazing images of the experiments described above as well as a wealth of inspiration and resources to help make science fun and engaging! Once again, we’d like to thank the education bloggers who joined us on the Brain Games blog carnival, as well as everyone who took time to check out the series and share their thoughts through blogs, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. Join us again tonight Monday, February 24 at 9 pm ET/PT for an all new episode of Brain Games.