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eddyfca
2007-Dec-20, 12:18 AM
As a new father, I am curious what the different ideas are out there about raining kids to be interested in science, and hopefully in the future pursue a career in it. There's a lot of great new media, tools and discoveries out there that I think can make this a wonderful time to get excited about such things.

My daughter is too young right now, but was hoping to hear great some ideas out there.

KaiYeves
2007-Dec-20, 01:01 AM
Looking at the moon through binoculars is always good. So are growing plants and making plans to watch meteor showers and lunar eclipses as a family.
If you're over eight, one can choose a mission to follow on the Internet and/or keep a journal of the highlights as they come in.
I have done all of these things and they are dynamite!

PhilM
2008-Jan-16, 08:43 PM
I couldn't agree more with KaiYeves.

I bought a 10" dobsonian going on 2 years ago, and every time something interesting is to appear in the sky, I bring my 5 year old outside.

The coolest thing was that when Saturn was in the sky last year I brought my oldest outside (he was 4 at the time), and we watched Saturn. He lit up, and wanted to see it again the following night. Same thing when he saw is first meteor shower (he ended up falling asleep outside).

There have been a bunch of other instances, but every time it's amazing to hear the questions that those experiences generate from him and to see his mind at work trying to take it all in.

They're not all home runs, Mars was a little disappointing for him, but it wasn't a clear night either. But for the most part, it really is a magical experience.

KaiYeves
2008-Jan-16, 08:46 PM
Welcome to BAUT, Phil M!

As an example of what one might write in a "Mission Journal":
Today (Parent) showed me the first MESSENGER image released of Mercury. It looks kind of like the moon, because it has a lot of craters, but it doesn't have as many mountains or dark patches. Nobody has seen Mercury up close in 33 years, and now I'm seeing it! OMG!

PhilM
2008-Jan-16, 08:48 PM
Welcome to BAUT, Phil M!

As an example of what one might write in a "Mission Journal":
Today (Parent) showed me the first MESSENGER image released of Mercury. It looks kind of like the moon, because it has a lot of craters, but it doesn't have as many mountains or dark patches. Nobody has seen Mercury up close in 33 years, and now I'm seeing it! OMG!

I was here before, so it's more of a welcome back :)

damian1727
2008-Jan-16, 09:59 PM
welcome back

Steve Limpus
2008-Jan-17, 12:30 AM
eddyfca

I think what turned my boys on to science was a book from our local library that told the story of the Big Bang in beautiful, colourful paintings, 'personalising' the universe, and at a childs level. Man, the look on their faces when they learned they are made from 'stardust'...

I don't think they really have a clue what that means yet :) but they just 'know' that they are connected in a deep and fundamental way to the entirety of the universe - in a way only kids can.

Another was a short book about a boy who meets Einstein when a friend smacks his baseball into Einsteins front yard (at first he thinks the scruffy and kind old man he meets is Einstein's gardener) and goes on to tell the story of Einstein's life from a school boy's perspective. Einstein teaches him about the universe in exchange for an ice cream. What a deal! It's a lovely, touching book.

I'll try to get the titles - but try your library anyway, who knows what treasures they will have.

Try 'The Fabric of the Cosmos' by Brian Greene for yourself, if you haven't already.

And congratulations on being a new Dad - there ain't nothing like it!

AGN Fuel
2008-Jan-17, 01:52 AM
A very simple but very powerful thing that I used to do with school groups at our observatory is to find out when the ISS is passing overhead at your location next (use Heavens-Above.com or similar). Just beforehand, had a chat with them about the ISS, living & working in space, show them pictures (or video) of living in that environment.

Then take them outside and show them the real thing as it passes over. It 'personalises' the experience deeply for them!

Steve Limpus
2008-Jan-17, 02:47 AM
A very simple but very powerful thing that I used to do with school groups at our observatory is to find out when the ISS is passing overhead at your location next (use Heavens-Above.com or similar). Just beforehand, had a chat with them about the ISS, living & working in space, show them pictures (or video) of living in that environment.

Then take them outside and show them the real thing as it passes over. It 'personalises' the experience deeply for them!

I'll vouch for that - the ISS flew over New Zealand on Tuesday night - very cool.

We have a VHS of an old Discovery channel show on the ISS, which the kids like. Sometimes at least - some nights all they want is XBox... :)

jamesabrown
2008-Jan-17, 03:55 PM
Use all the resources you have at hand. I watched Bill Nye the Science Guy with my son pretty regularly, until it was canceled. :( I subscribe to the Planetary Society, and every couple of months they send a magazine with great color photos of stars and planets. I leave this magazine in his bathroom for him to browse through.

Buy books on conducting science experiments. There are many out there that are very kid-friendly (making 'gross' stuff in the kitchen, etc.)

Trips to a local science museum are a must.

Other TV shows about science and technology are great ways to get kids to think about new things. My son likes Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, even lighter fare like Stunt Junkies and Robot Wars. NASA TV shows shuttle launches and landings live along with other things.

Scientific American produces a daily podcast called '60-second Science' and I e-mail my son those that I think he might be interested in, like the one about the baby spiders that suck their mother's dry for nourishment.

Even your own enthusiasm about science can be infectious. At the dinner table, I often try to think of newsworthy topics to think about. Just this week, I burst out, "Hey! Did you hear about the MESSENGER probe skimming past Mercury today? We're now seeing parts of it we've never seen before!"

The proof of concept came when someone asked my son what he wants to be when he grows up. His answer, with no prompting from me, the answer that made my heart want to swell up and burst? "A scientist."

squid
2008-Jan-21, 12:45 PM
I just got into astronomy about a year and a half ago, and my parents are worried I'm getting too serious about a career path too soon. Then again, they're both geologists--I got so sick of looking at the earth I decided to look elsewhere. I don't know what my parents did to get me so hooked, but I think it was their interest in science that got me started, and after that it was the magic of me discovering my passion on my own. My parents think that, even in high school, I'm too young to know that I want to be an astronomer if I grow up.
Honestly though, I have to say the biggest science turn-ons for me a few years ago were Bill Nye the Science Guy and I will never forget the incident in fifth grade when a kid in my class clipped his braces into a light bulb circuit (you know the kind with the alligator clips, 9-volt battery, and mini light-bulb?) Little cool things like that that never happened while studying grammar...
Unfortunately though, I've got to say that a lot of it has to be self-discovery. My parents taught me too much about Geology too early, and I haven't been interested in that since I was about six.

laurele
2008-Jan-21, 04:55 PM
I just got into astronomy about a year and a half ago, and my parents are worried I'm getting too serious about a career path too soon. Then again, they're both geologists--I got so sick of looking at the earth I decided to look elsewhere. I don't know what my parents did to get me so hooked, but I think it was their interest in science that got me started, and after that it was the magic of me discovering my passion on my own. My parents think that, even in high school, I'm too young to know that I want to be an astronomer if I grow up.
Honestly though, I have to say the biggest science turn-ons for me a few years ago were Bill Nye the Science Guy and I will never forget the incident in fifth grade when a kid in my class clipped his braces into a light bulb circuit (you know the kind with the alligator clips, 9-volt battery, and mini light-bulb?) Little cool things like that that never happened while studying grammar...
Unfortunately though, I've got to say that a lot of it has to be self-discovery. My parents taught me too much about Geology too early, and I haven't been interested in that since I was about six.


Here's an irony: I've heard complaints from several astronomers that they can't get their kids into astronomy no matter how hard they try! I'm not an astronomer and don't have kids, so I'm not really qualified to talk about this, but that's never stopped me from expressing an opinion before. Maybe it's just that kids need to find their own paths, especially when their parents are very strongly into one specific field. Personally, I think your parents should be happy you're interested in something intellectually stimulating that will develop the critical thinking and analytical skills that will be useful in any field. Too many kids (and often adults) spend too much time preoccupied with sports "stars" and Hollywood gossip, which doesn't do anything positive in developing thinking skills. No matter what you end up doing as a career--and many adults change careers multiple times--the knowledge, process of self-discovery and thinking skills you get from pursuing an interest in astronomy can only help you in life.

Fraser
2008-Jan-21, 07:28 PM
I don't really push astronomy on my kids. They know I do the show, and they're often fascinated by the topics, but I'm mostly just hoping science in general will stick. It's pretty clear my daughter has a future in biology or health care. My son wants to be a motorcycle mechanic.

But I think there's an underlying interest and fascination in how the universe works that's applicable to almost anything. As long as you encourage curiosity and critical thinking you can't really hope for much more.

KaiYeves
2008-Jan-21, 08:13 PM
Look for Teachable Moments and sieze them.

Noclevername
2008-Jan-22, 12:16 AM
I got my niece and nephew a telescope and microscope this Xmas. I think they really were fascinated with them & will use them a lot, too.

clint
2008-Jan-25, 02:00 AM
I don't really push astronomy on my kids. They know I do the show, and they're often fascinated by the topics, but I'm mostly just hoping science in general will stick. It's pretty clear my daughter has a future in biology or health care. My son wants to be a motorcycle mechanic.

But I think there's an underlying interest and fascination in how the universe works that's applicable to almost anything. As long as you encourage curiosity and critical thinking you can't really hope for much more.

Wow, if everybody had that kind of attitude,
I think we would see fewer frustrated kids (and later adults).
Congratulations!!!

It's very tempting to project all of our hobbies, passions (and also lost opportunities) on our kids
- but it's even more important to prepare them to make their own decisions.

Still, I absolutely look forward to discussing some of the mysteries of our universe with my little son :)

Steve Limpus
2008-Feb-29, 01:12 AM
eddyfca

I think what turned my boys on to science was a book from our local library that told the story of the Big Bang in beautiful, colourful paintings, 'personalising' the universe, and at a childs level. Man, the look on their faces when they learned they are made from 'stardust'...

I don't think they really have a clue what that means yet :) but they just 'know' that they are connected in a deep and fundamental way to the entirety of the universe - in a way only kids can.

Another was a short book about a boy who meets Einstein when a friend smacks his baseball into Einsteins front yard (at first he thinks the scruffy and kind old man he meets is Einstein's gardener) and goes on to tell the story of Einstein's life from a school boy's perspective. Einstein teaches him about the universe in exchange for an ice cream. What a deal! It's a lovely, touching book.

I'll try to get the titles - but try your library anyway, who knows what treasures they will have.

Try 'The Fabric of the Cosmos' by Brian Greene for yourself, if you haven't already.

And congratulations on being a new Dad - there ain't nothing like it!

The cosmic professor / Andrew Donkin ; illustrated by Gillian Hunt.
ISBN
0750023007
075002304X


"A young boy called Eddie meets Albert Einstein, who tells him about relativity and other secrets of the universe. This book is part of a series which introduces children to famous scientists and their discoveries through stories, it explains Einstein's theories simply."

Born with a bang, book one. The universe tells our cosmic story / by Jennifer Morgan ; illustrated by Dana Lynne Andersen.
ISBN
1584690321
158469033X

... and how about this for an endorsement:


"When returning from the moon, I experienced directly and emotionally the personal connection to the Universe described by Jennifer Morgan. We are the way the Universe knows itself. We are it and it is us. All together we are wonderful and amazing. -Edgar Mitchell, Sc D., Apollo14 Astronaut"

My kids love these books.

clint
2008-Feb-29, 04:08 AM
I just got into astronomy about a year and a half ago, and my parents are worried I'm getting too serious about a career path too soon. Then again, they're both geologists--I got so sick of looking at the earth I decided to look elsewhere...

I was just thinking that we might be creating a lot of great geologists here
(all those astronomy-sick children of BAUT-parents)
:lol::lol::lol:

Steve Limpus
2008-Feb-29, 08:25 AM
I was just thinking that we might be creating a lot of great geologists here
(all those astronomy-sick children of BAUT-parents)
:lol::lol::lol:

I managed to get my wife interested in astronomy... well, the anthropic principle at least, y'know - the theory that the universe must be the way it is in order to support shopping malls...

billslugg
2008-Mar-01, 04:07 AM
I've got a 20 year son I am working on. I've got him looking at Heavens Above for Iridium flares. The objective is to fool a young impressionable female. As they sit on the park bench, he casually says: "You know, I can make stars appear in the heavens. In fact I think I will make one appear right over there in about 10 seconds."

mrs-kenobi
2008-Mar-01, 06:46 AM
The cosmic professor / Andrew Donkin ; illustrated by Gillian Hunt.
ISBN
0750023007
075002304X


"A young boy called Eddie meets Albert Einstein, who tells him about relativity and other secrets of the universe. This book is part of a series which introduces children to famous scientists and their discoveries through stories, it explains Einstein's theories simply."

Born with a bang, book one. The universe tells our cosmic story / by Jennifer Morgan ; illustrated by Dana Lynne Andersen.
ISBN
1584690321
158469033X

... and how about this for an endorsement:


"When returning from the moon, I experienced directly and emotionally the personal connection to the Universe described by Jennifer Morgan. We are the way the Universe knows itself. We are it and it is us. All together we are wonderful and amazing. -Edgar Mitchell, Sc D., Apollo14 Astronaut"

My kids love these books.

Wow, they sound superb- thanks for the details. I would love to get one or both of them for my sister; she's 11, and we're trying to gently inspire in her a passion for knowledge.

What sort of age group are they aimed at, though? Because she's also kind of stubborn, like me, and doesn't like being talked down to, so I need to make sure that these wouldn't be too far below her level before I consider buying them.

Steve Limpus
2008-Mar-01, 07:49 AM
Wow, they sound superb- thanks for the details. I would love to get one or both of them for my sister; she's 11, and we're trying to gently inspire in her a passion for knowledge.

What sort of age group are they aimed at, though? Because she's also kind of stubborn, like me, and doesn't like being talked down to, so I need to make sure that these wouldn't be too far below her level before I consider buying them.

Your sister might find 'Born with a Bang' a bit young... although older children might also find it quite profound on a different level (I enjoyed it myself, as did some adult reviewers at Amazon, Amazon I think rate it for 9-12 year olds, my own boys are 4 & 6).

I'm sure she would enjoy the 'Cosmic Professor'... she would be able to read it herself, but I bet she would love you reading it to her too!

http://www.amazon.com/Born-Bang-Universe-Sharing-Children/dp/1584690321

http://www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Professor-Super-Scientists/dp/075002304X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204357042&sr=1-1

SingleDad
2008-Mar-03, 05:58 PM
Doh I had a nice reply typed out and hit the spell check button and it wiped everything out :eh:

basically I don't push astronomy. I'm a single dad raising a beautiful little girl, I push all science. I wouldn't so much call it pushing as expanding what she's learning. Astronomy Cast is very help with Megan and I because it gives us discussion points that in some case is over both our heads :razz: . Yes, we're still trying to figure out what's outside the universe.

I can tell you what I do and how it works for me. I use her class science subject as the keystone and push what she like about it. This week it's on Force and Energy. I looked up some physics for kids web sites, we played around with ping-pong balls in the bath tub and in salad bowls. we bounced golf balls, tennis balls, and rubber balls off the side of the house. BUT the icing on the cake was listening to and discussing Astronomy Cast episodes 9, 18, 47 and 71. Those episodes kinda take physics to the extreme, but show how they work in the world and beyond.

Being a single dad I can't afford a big fancy telescope. As a mater of fact we broke the rule a bought binoculars (Bushnell 12x42) from Wal-Mart. They're not the greatest in the works, but we can find the Orion Nebula (looks like a fuzzy blob).

And as a last note, if you do "push" astronomy on a winter night... don't forget the hot chocolate. The point is they'll love it as long as it's coming from you and they'll learning as long as you repeat it, but don't make it a job (like school). I can't promise you'll get my results but Megan has been on the A+ Honor Roll Since kindergarten ( her best subject .... reading :clap: )

Brian

Steve Limpus
2008-Mar-04, 03:00 AM
The point is they'll love it as long as it's coming from you

...that's the thing, right there!

clint
2008-Mar-04, 10:20 AM
... ( her best subject .... reading :clap: )


... and this is no minor feat, either!!
One of the biggest dangers of our multimedia age is that the kids stop reading altogether.

KaiYeves
2008-Mar-06, 12:40 AM
One of the biggest dangers of our multimedia age is that the kids stop reading altogether.
I had a tenth grade reading level in second grade. I practically live in the library.
Don't diss kids on a board with kid users!

clint
2008-Mar-06, 12:16 PM
I had a tenth grade reading level in second grade. I practically live in the library.

I congratulate you, Kai, but I think you're the exception that confirms the rule


Don't diss kids on a board with kid users!

:naughty: Not at all, it's not the kids' fault!!!

From my experience, usually it's lazy and/or irresponsible parents.
(or parents that don't read themselves, either)

You can quite easily stimulate children to read. Of course, that requires some time and effort...

KaiYeves
2008-Mar-06, 11:08 PM
Okay, I forgive you. Friends?

laurele
2008-Mar-06, 11:46 PM
For about a year, I've been teaching my nephew, now four and a half, about the solar system and about exoplanets and how other stars have their own planetary systems. A few days ago, he reported that another child in his nursery school class said there are eight planets. He promptly replied, "no, there are many more!" Now that makes me proud!:)

jamesabrown
2008-Mar-07, 01:18 PM
I congratulate you, Kai, but I think you're the exception that confirms the rule



:naughty: Not at all, it's not the kids' fault!!!

From my experience, usually it's lazy and/or irresponsible parents.
(or parents that don't read themselves, either)

You can quite easily stimulate children to read. Of course, that requires some time and effort...

I've been told that the popular economics book Freakonomics has a chapter exploring children's IQs and reading. Apparently a child's IQ is positively affected by the number of books in the house where he grew up. Nobody has to actually read the books, they just have to be there.

Weird.

EvilEye
2008-Mar-07, 03:51 PM
I got my kids started (especially my son) using it as a game.

Because textbooks never really show how far the planets are from each other....

I taught my son the planets, and then took him for a ride and pulled over every time we got to the "next planet" (not true toscale, but for effect)

I'd drive for about a half mile for mercury, then 5 miles for Venus...etc.... until we arrived in GA at Pluto with "sun" (home) behind in central FL.

KaiYeves
2008-Mar-08, 12:10 AM
I distract myself when stretching during track or in the dentist's chair by trying to remember three facts about surface geography and the first probe to visit, in order out from Mercury.