We are excited to have Pacific Science Center join us to host “Let’s Make Rockets!” once again at Seattle Mini Maker Faire this coming September. Check out their thoughts about making with family, written by Tinker Tank Manager Daniel Rother:
At Pacific Science Center, we are not only passionate about inspiring a love of science, but also about getting families to explore, experiment, and be inspired together. To that end, we love seeing parents facilitating their children’s experience. Be it at Maker Faire, Pacific Science Center, or just wandering down the street, giving your child the tools to make connections and better understand their world is one of the best ways to inspire an interest in science.
Exploring, observing, and tinkering are skills that come naturally to children who are beginning to make sense of the world around them. When a child asks why the trees sway or a kite flies, they aren’t looking for an answer from a physics teacher. Think about a child playing with a fan, a piece of paper, and other objects that may be moved or unmoved by a fan. By giving your child the tools to make the connections through their own exploration and play, the lesson they learn is far more effective and memorable than telling them the answer. This activity is even more powerful if parents are able to work and learn alongside their child.
Parents are the most influential teachers a child has and can help children in their quest to learn. A child asking why and questioning everything they see, hear, and touch is an attempt to construct knowledge that they will build on in future learning. The importance of the questions and curiosity is not in giving the child the answer, but in exploring together what could be possible. By helping children to carefully observe, to ask questions, and to critically think about the solution by using the information and tools they have, parents can make a difference in their child’s education. Science is about asking questions about and exploring the unknown, not about having the answers.
At Pacific Science Center, we have found that asking questions is one of the best ways of getting children to make connections on their own. Ask open ended questions that don’t have wrong answers such as “What do you notice?”, “What makes you notice that?”, and “What does this remind you of?” Though these types of questions, you can help them make new connections and better understand the world. As you explore Maker Faire and see some of the amazing things people are showing off, keep these open-ended questions in mind. Who knows, maybe you will learn something in the process!