I went to a science center exhibit a few weeks ago that had you step on a scale and it showed you how much you weighed on planet Earth (wake-up call that I need to return to the gym), followed by what you’d weigh on each of the other planets. The interactive exhibit explained that the variation is due to gravity. Gravity, which I found to be a complicated theory to grasp as a child, can be easily explained. But, essentially, it is what keeps you standing upright and not smushed to the Earth right now.
Thank you, gravity!
Gravity is not the only scientific theory that is hard to sum up in a few words. As a former science major, I struggled to see things as only black or white. I found the topics interesting, but it was difficult to see why water boiled at a specific temperature and not one degree sooner, how load cell calibration worked or where exactly kinetics came into play. This may be why I ended up changing my major.
Science for dummies
The average person doesn’t need to know every single who, what, when, where, and why of biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and meteorology. But a running knowledge of how the world works comes in handy for helping your kids on homework, water cooler conversations, and if you’re ever picked to go on Jeopardy.
I find that watching shows on the Discovery Channel rekindles my childhood love of learning. Shows like “Myth Busters,” which uses science to explain why or why not old wives’ tales are true (for example, talking on your cell phone while pumping gas will make you blow up), is a fun way to engage the audience while exposing them to more complicated theories and processes.
More fun when you can play along
I am also a huge fan of attending museums and exhibits geared toward kids. My boyfriend and I recently went to the Maryland Science Center and Baltimore Aquarium. The day trip proved to be a fun one that included learning (and relearning!) about marine wildlife, germs, DNA, and the human body.
I especially love interactive exhibits. From mazes that teach about the human digestive system to a display on Antarctica that has real parkas worn on the tundra available for visitors to try on, it’s just more fun to lean while doing.
Many websites offer at-home ideas to help your kids get the extra attention needed to learn about a specific lesson in science class. Use baking soda and vinegar to teach about chemical interactions via a volcano for chemistry. Take them outside for some hands-on ecology while helping out in the garden. And maybe you’ll also rekindle your love of science in the process.
Now that you know more about how to enjoy the science all around us, dig deeper into a topic of your choice, such as how gravity works or the importance of DNA!