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Maths/Science Inspiration - What do people do/Does it work?

(18 Posts)
babyowl Mon 29-Jun-15 14:16:33

Hi there,

Just wondering what sort of things people do in general to encourage interest in science & maths beyond going to the
Royal Society Science Exhibition,
Royal Institution Family days,
Science Festivals/Festivals including science stands?

And do you think it works in terms of making kids more interested in Maths/Science/Engineering?

Also, came across this recently.

Was wondering if anyone's dcs have ever been?

thejoysofboys Mon 29-Jun-15 14:53:44

Personally, I would encourage the practical/applied aspects of maths and science rather than the pure subjects themselves. Depending on the age of your kids it could involve stuff like:
- trips to science museums, the national space centre, Jodrell Bank
- any kind of manufactuing open day - you find that companies like Triumph or Pilkingtons do factory tours and you get to see technology in action (like the robots that operate in most factories)
- anything like Lego (including the technic, architecture stuff which is for older ones) or mecano is great
- introduce them to programming with a raspberry Pi
- trips to zoos or wildlife parks can be made relevant to biology subjects

My two are still quite small (4 & 5) but love a good "experiment". We fill buckets with water to look at floating and sinking, take the lid off the toilet cistern to watch it flush (yes, really - my eldest LOVES it!), make slime to play with (google for a recipe)....

Sixhundred1 Mon 29-Jun-15 22:22:49

All the suggestions above are good. You could also try do a few at-home science experiments. Diet coke + mentos is a classic (nice explosion, easy to do), but there are also cool things like buying gallium online and letting it alloy with aluminium. Gallium itself is a metal which is liquid at just above room temperature, and non-toxic.

Have a google around and I'm sure you can find loads more cool science demos to do. Depending on their age, you could also actually run it like an experiment, with hypothesis, method, results etc. all written out.

Have fun!

TalkinPeace Tue 30-Jun-15 16:28:22

Does the school get people in to enthuse the kids (and teachers) about non curriculum science?

There are science centres in every major city : visit as many as you can

noblegiraffe Tue 30-Jun-15 16:31:47

My school takes top set Y11 and Y12 to the inspiration lectures each year. They're usually pretty good, although it depends on the speakers.

RueDeWakening Tue 30-Jun-15 16:35:16

Depends how old the kids are, surely? We do bits at home - separating colours in the ink of felt tip pens, making weather stations/rain gauges, playing with gloop to demonstrate non Newtonian fluids, making volcanos from playdoh and making them erupt with vinegar and bicarbonate, growing crystals, going on bug hunts, growing seeds in different conditions to work out what they need, etc etc.

If you need inspiration, Usborne have a bunch of science experiment type books.

DD (age 8) also has the "This Is Not A Maths Book" which is excellent.

TalkinPeace Tue 30-Jun-15 16:39:48

I've never taken my kids to anything at the Royal Society or Royal institution as getting to London for the day is rather an expensive project.

mummytime Tue 30-Jun-15 18:06:18

The Institute of Physics has some fun experiments, you can get some of them on postcards for free, or they are on the website.

But follow your child's interests, so: keep a nature diary, make crystals, thenIOP experiments, talk about Maths and Science, talk about the many shades of green etc. etc.

TalkinPeace Tue 30-Jun-15 18:28:10

sticky cards when out on walks are good fun right up to early teens

and just getting kids to observe is the greatest skill

TeenAndTween Tue 30-Jun-15 19:47:13

TP sticky cards ?

Haggisfish Tue 30-Jun-15 19:49:32

Card with double sided Sellotape on to collect as many colours etc as you can on a walk.

TalkinPeace Tue 30-Jun-15 19:59:00

Colours, textures, randomness,
one thing every 35 paces
one monocot, one dicot at each location
thousands of permutations of sticky cards ....

2fedup Tue 30-Jun-15 20:07:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

2fedup Tue 30-Jun-15 20:10:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nigelslaterfan Tue 30-Jun-15 20:27:29

I have found the best thing is to follow their interest. My dd (6) is into space so doing drawings and looking at the stars and reading the stories of the constellations are all downhill things because she is interested.

I know many boys who started fascinated by animals and the same principle applies.

A friend of mine takes her kids on expeditions with a bag of Microscopes and a reference book or two so they can collect leaf types and footprints etc seeds.

Projects like family trees are a good branch to genetics how many people go before us and leads to history.

Loads of bbc bitesize on science, they have games and things too.

I think bridges are great for science inspiration for physics. There are so many aspects to bridges, history, maths, culture, design, problem solving, aqueducts (sp?), viaducts, bridges for animals, pedestrian bridges. building bridges over water, Roman bridges etc.

Chess is a great game for developing analytical thinking although I haven't taught my dd yet.

I would like to give my dd female Science role models to find out about as she gets older.

nigelslaterfan Tue 30-Jun-15 20:28:36

Sorry, a bay of magnifying glasses I don't think she has a bag of microscopes.
I think I fell asleep mid post

babyowl Wed 01-Jul-15 12:30:04

Lots of great ideas, thanks for these. I hadn't thought of looking out for manufacturing open days.

We're a bit limited on space& time for experiments, but will give the IOP + BBC Bitesize a try during the summer. Hopefully these have bits that explains the science bits behind the experiment as well & how the science gets used in practice. Has anyone found any other good resources?

I think we have done a version of sticky cards using a basic small plastic bag to collect interesting leaves, seeds, wool, etc that we find on walks - also motivates the walk to continue onwards if we're treasure hunting.

Looking ahead to the preteen/teen years where everything is "meh", I'm not sure what we'll be able to get away without lots of eye-rolling & grumpiness.

Please keep the suggestions coming!

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Wed 01-Jul-15 12:41:47

I'm not very good at doing activities with the kids but will tell you what we get up to!

I love science / maths and have a bit of background in that from school & uni so being positive and enthusiastic about the subjects is an obvious and excellent start.

I just find that lots of things in day to day life trigger a bit of info or conversation or thinking about how it works / why is it designed like that / why do you think it's made of plastic not metal & all sorts of things like that come up a lot if you're thinking that way IYSWIM? In the same way that if your thoughts are towards music or english or language everyday things link in with that a lot.

I love youtube we have watched images of the space shuttle taking off, people floating around in the ISS, and even googled people dropping great bits of sodium and lihtium (or was it potassium?) into great jugs of water and watching them go WHOOSH (not something we can do at home :D). Massive weird looking photos of bacteria and viruses and strange creatures that live at the bottom of the sea are a hit as well. Anything you don't know (and there is so much stuff to know!) it's all right there on the net to learn about together smile

Also if either of them want to try something (what happens if I put a load of food colouring the water these flowers are in, will the flowers change colour?) I say yes fine (within reason) even though it means weird stuff lying around for days on end.

So I guess what I'm saying is it's all around us all the time so if you get your head in that space then you can talk about stuff constantly! I need to work on the stuff I'm not so interested in, and not neglect those bits.

Anyway, don't know if that is any help whatsoever.

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