By age five, the brain's capacity develops 90 percent. The child's senses are exploding with an influx of information--colors, shapes, movement, and touch. From a young age, children are encouraged by their parents to learn, explore, and ask questions. Parents are eager to help their child reach their potential and therefore start teaching them long before they make their first step into the classroom. When it comes to science, children don't need any prodding to ask about the sun, moon, or stars--they're intrigued by insects, animals, and the ocean. And so it's important for parents to take that early fascination with science and constructively guide their child to making their own discoveries about the world around them. With the help of online resources such as videos, interactive activites, science experiment ideas and games parents can confidently play their role in teaching and inspiring their child to pursue science.
Preschoolers have a young mind that is remarkably curious and hungry for answers to never-ending questions. Long before they step into the classroom, they possess an innate drive to explore, learn, and shape their environment. Research has suggested that engaging with science or engineering can actually "pique students' curiosity, capture their interest, and motivate their continued study." Early experiences with science will influence their interest later on, once they reach the classroom. Parents can play a role in guiding their preschooler on their journey of learning through science experiments and craft projects, and engage their curiosity in a productive and educational way.
Little Bins for Little Hands | Ideas for science experiments for your young scientist.
Education.com | Simple demonstrations, craft projects, and science experiment ideas.
Babble Dabble Do | Explore magnetism, shadows, and chemical reactions.
Fun Learning for Kids | Lava lamp experiments and a rain cloud in a jar will be sure to fascinate.
Hands On: As We Grow | Watch your preschooler change the color of milk and build their own rocket!
Happy Hooligans | Use science to create art and melt ice with salt and watercolors.
Science Sparks | Build a lollystick catapult and connect science principles to literacy.
Parenting Science | Your preschooler will experiment with floating, boating, and ice cubes.
American Chemistry Society | An online activity book with illustrated, step-by-step instructions.
At the elementary level, students are asking more complex questions and learning how to independently discover answers. Through regular classroom experiments, science fair projects, and school field trips they are actively exploring science and carrying out investigations. At the middle school level, students are learning about the many real-world applications of science. Parental support during these crucial developmental years can make a big difference in their child's decision to pursue a higher education--and eventually a career--in science.
American Chemical Society | Activities across chemistry, physics, biology and nutrition.
U.S. Geological Survey | A resource to learn all about water: its properties, chemical composition, and the water cycle.
Let's Talk About Insects | A clickable tour of insects and how they grow and develop, and the role they play in our environment.
Education | Science activites, projects and worksheets.
National Geographic | Interactive activities and flagship programs for students to get involved in.
Students can also enjoy and experience science through games, whether on the computer or through apps. While they are having fun with science, students will easily grasp increasingly complex scientific facts and principles. They might not even realize that as they progress to higher levels in the game they are actually growing their knowledge and moving ahead of their peers in grasping key scientific concepts. Playing science games will be enjoyable and educational for students of all ages.
My Molecularium | A mobile app game that involves launching atoms at target bond sites to assemble essential molecules of increasing complexity and difficulty. Players learn fun facts about molecules and chemical formulas.
National Agriculture in the Classroom | Games about sustainable farming, American geography, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS).
Monterey Bay Aquarium | Card games, crosswords, bingo worksheets, and coloring pages for students of all ages interested in sea creatures.
Harvest of Fear | A feature developed by PBS, games simulate the techniques used to genetically engineer a "supercrop".
ChemCrafter | An app that lets users build a lab and run creative chemical experiments.
Oblectamentum | Fun physics games for kids.
Engaging teenagers with science may be a bit more challenging than engaging preschoolers. But parents should consider introducing them to government-sponsored organizations like NASA and JPL that are exploring the fascinating world we live in. To help re-ignite their interest in science, suggest they visit various museums and observatories and encourage them to learn about how these organizations are supporting groundbreaking scientific discoveries. Point to visionaries like Elon Musk who are pushing the limits of what the human mind can achieve. Inspire them to imagine themselves as a scientist, chemist, or physicist who will make the next groundbreaking discovery.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Activities, guides, posters, and interactive animations about the latest scientific discoveries.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Resource database of activities, workshops, and programs about space exploration.
NASA | Resource with images, videos, animations, and posters about the universe, the solar system, the sun, earth, and space exploration missions.
Chandra X-Ray Observatory | Activities, videos, and and interactive features about the universe and space.
A Guide to the Energy of the Earth | A resource offered by TED that includes a video, questions, discussion forum and additional online resouces about energy.
Learning about science is not age-restricted. Individuals and students of all ages can learn at their own pace, and ask questions about the topics that interest them. What's most essential is the desire to learn and explore.
California Academy of Sciences | Immersive infographics, videos, and data visualizations for interactive learning.
Chickscope | A site devoted to studying chick embryology with MRI images, games and interactive activites.
Know the Science | A resource by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health with interactive modules, quizzes, and videos related to health research.
Ocean Explorer | U.S. government organization dedicated to exploring the oceans offering various educational materials.
Boddities for the Classroom | A video series with worksheets by STAT that explores the quirks of the human body.
Science Fair Water | A website with resources discussing the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water.
Science Friday Initiative | A source of entertaining and educational stories about science and technology.
Chemistry is the glue that connects all sciences. It touches on biology, physics, environmental science and geology. Chemistry is therefore appropriately referred to as the "central science". Though the main image that comes to mind when we hear "chemistry" is a dark room filled with flasks of bubbling mixtures and vapors, the scientific discipline reaches beyond the walls of a laboratory. Chemistry is in product labels, baking, pollution, technological advancements, and cheese production. Without chemistry, our world would be dull, dark, and dismal. Understanding chemistry is central to understanding--and enjoying--the makeup of the world around us.
Science by Simulation | A gas modeling and simulation tool that helps students develop a deeper understanding of ideal and real gas laws.
Science History Institute | A resource on the history of chemistry and the scientists who helped shape discoveries.
Royal Society of Chemistry | Content, tools and resurces for learning chemistry with an experimentation hub and interactive Periodic Table.
ChemCollective | A collection of virtual labs, scenario-based learning activities, tutorials, and concept tests.
American Chemical Society | Link to experiments, competitions, magazine, and summer research program.
Atoms, molecules, organisms, and ecosystems make up the foundation of life on our planet Earth. Biologists observe the many changes happening around us--in the wild and in our backyards. Studying biology is studying life itself--how it begins, how it develops, and how it ends. Students of all ages learn about how biology's many principles affect and shape our lives every day. Beyond the classroom, understanding biology helps the chemist, doctor, nurse, engineer, scientist, psychologist and teacher excel in their career. Yet notwithstanding all the answers and help biology provides, it asks many more questions that fuel ongoing scientific investigations.
Ohio Corn & Wheat | An educational initiative providing resources and lessons about biotechnology, agriculture, and sustainability.
Monarch Waystation Network | A website devoted to tracking monarch migration and guiding students to learn about monarch butterflies.
Animal Diversity Web | An online encyclopedia and virtual museum of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology maintained by the University of Michigan.
National Space Biomedical Research Institute | Activities and guides for students in 4th through 8th grade to learn about the human body on Earth and in space.
Nature | Videos and educational materials by PBS about nature and animals.
The egg drop project in physics class is arguably one of the most memorable experiences for science students. Safe landing or not, students explore the fundamental principles governing matter and energy. While studying physics, they are invited into a world of laser science, fluid dynamics, materials physics, and nuclear physics to name a few subsections. They learn how physics makes airplanes, cell phones, space rockets, and computers function. For the young scientist, physics is the world of action--a world of motion and activity. One in which they are encouraged to test, design, invent and push the laws of physics--and their minds-- to the limit.
Physics Central | Blog, podcast, comic books, activity books available for download, and the opportunity to Ask-a-Physicist.
American Physical Society | Videos and articles about all things physics.
The Physics Classroom | Multimedia animations and educational resources covering physics principles and theories.
Finding Dulcinea | Students can get help on completing physics homework, extra practice, formulas and demonstrations.
Society of Physics Students | For students considering majoring in physics or pursuing a career in physics.
For the parent who isn't a scientist, studying the subject can be daunting--let alone teaching their child. Thankfully, many foundations and industry organizations produce and publish free, easy-to-understand resources for parents and students interested in learning about science on their own. With access to lesson plans, interactive activities, science projects, and simulations parents can be confident in their ability to inspire, encourage, and teach their student.
The Tell-Tale Plume | A lesson plan by NOAA for students in grades 9-12 about hydrothermal vent chemistry.
Discovering Farmland | Lesson plans designed for high school students about modern agriculture, sustainability, the new science behind farming, and entrepreneurship.
The Concord Consortium | Activities, lesson plans and simulations of science projects available in the STEM Resource Finder.
Home Science Tools | A resource of science projects and activities about chemistry, the earth, and space.
Exploratorium | A museum offering digital resouces and publications as teaching tools for learning in formal and informal settings.
ExploreLearning | An online learning solution helping students excel in science and math.
Science is a complex and exciting field of study. However its complexities and intricacies become even more fascinating when studying with a child. You'll be surprised by their questions, inspired by their tenacity, and thrilled with every discovery. You don't need to be a scientist or an expert to enjoy science. All that is necessary is a desire to explore, and your child will follow your example.