What attitudes should scientists bring to their work? and how can parents teach kids to think like scientists?
Scientists should be curious. They should delight in asking questions. When Thomas Edison was a boy, he asked so many questions his father said, “Tom, all you are is one big question mark. I have a question mark for a son!”
Scientists should be ready for surprises. In 1882 Gideon Mantell, a British scientist, stumbled on a strange fossil. It looked like a huge iguana tooth. This remarkable discovery led Mantell to suggest that giant creatures used to roam the earth in prehistoric times. He called his creature an iguanodon and wrote the first scientific paper ever to describe dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were definitely a surprise.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek, who invented the first microscope, was surprised in the other direction. He peered into the microscope at a drop of water and was amazed to discover that tiny little creatures were swimming in it. Life is microscopic.Very surprising!
Scientists should be logical. They should enjoy figuring out why surprising facts exist. In 1931, an engineer named Karl Jansky tried to figure out why static gets in the way of radio communication. He eliminated all the unknown sources of static, yet he still heard noise. Where was the static from? Logic pointed to outer space. By investigating static, he opened a new field of scientific investigation: radio astronomy.
The best contribution you can make to your child’s scientific education is to encourage these attitudes of mind: curiosity, readiness for surprise, a spirit for logical investigation.
Educational toys can help turn your child into scientific question mark. Your child may become a little more curious, alert, and eager to apply logic to mysterious phenomena.
Wooden puzzles for kids, construction sets and building blocks for toddlers help develop those skills in young explorers and teach kids how to think like a scientist.