Science is a word that can scare people. I’m a science enthusiast. I love science. But why are some people afraid of science? What IS science?
The actual definition of science found in Collins Dictionary is this:
Science is the study of the nature and behaviour of natural things and the knowledge that we obtain about them.
The best discoveries in science are very simple….science and technology.
Science isn’t complex. It’s simply observing your surroundings and recording those observations. Children are natural scientists. How many children have colored places they weren’t supposed to? Almost all of them. Why? Because they want to discover what happens. Children do all sorts of things that we tell them not to, all in the name of discovery. Babies put things in their mouths because taste is a sense that they are exploring. Young children touch the hot stove when told not to because they need to experiment. Is it REALLY hot? If so, how hot? What happens when I tip the cup upside down? What happens when I push this button?
All of these natural behaviors are simply scientific discoveries. I’m not sure why we complicate things as we get older. I led a Food Science class two years ago for high schoolers. We made brownies with baking soda and brownies with baking powder. Then we discussed the science of the difference. We made cheese. We made pasta, then discussed the difference in taste and texture and cooking times between fresh pasta and boxed pasta. Chemistry in real life.
We raise livestock. My children understand embryology and gestation and reproduction; not from studying a book, but from real life.
Please don’t be afraid of science.
Fishing is science. Which hook catches which fish? What time of day do the fish bite? What is the temperature when you catch the most fish? Which fish are bottom dwellers, therefore need to be caught with a sinker?
Cooking is science. At what temperature does butter melt? Burn? What happens if I make cookies with margarine vs. butter vs. lard? What is the difference between roasting and boiling and grilling and baking? What causes caramelization? Can you actually cook in a hot car? My daughter actually “baked” cookies using a box, tinfoil, and the dash of a car.
Going to the zoo or aquarium or insectarium is science. Which animals prefer hot environments? Which animals are nocturnal? Omnivore? Carnivore? Herbivore? What part of the world is this animal’s natural habitat? How do they communicate with one another?
Simple daily behavior observation is science. How many children come to the playground on a certain day of the week? How many children prefer to swing vs. slide? How many children like to play in the dirt? How long is the average stay in the park? How many people enter and exit a store on a daily basis? What cars are the most common on the road by your house?
Almost everyone knows about Jane Goodall. She’s a “famous scientist”. What did she do? What is her life’s work? Simply observing and recording chimpanzee behavior. Day in and day out. For years. Nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering in her methods. Observe. Record. Share results. That’s it.
If your student thinks science is boring or too “textbook”, check out some alternative sciences. Food Science. Marine Science. Veterinary Science. Astronomy. Space. Ecology. Behavior. Zoology. Aquaculture.
Science is everywhere!!
Go find your niche!!