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Science inspiration for toddlers, primary schoolers and pre-teens


Three states

The big news out of CERN, the nuclear research lab is that they’re pretty sure they’ve nailed the Higgs Boson – aka the God particle.  I can barely understand a word they’re saying and conceptually I am completely lost (never any good at physics).  But all of us can recognise that this is a big deal for science.

With nanotechnology, stem cell research and particle physics zooming ahead, there’s no more exciting time that now to get your young children into the wonders of science.  But how?  Not by trying to explain sub-atomic particles – even with oranges and apples to demonstrate, that’s just too tough!

Why not get inspired by this news to have a science-y kind of week at home this holidays.  Start in the kitchen, every mum’s very own lab, and examine water:  it’s liquid – drink it.  It’s solid – smash it into pieces.  It’s gas – watch it billow up out of the kettle.  Simple but that’s the 3 states of matter all wrapped up in a flash.

Follow that up with a bedtime watch of the fun biography films of famous scientists like Isaac Newton, Galileo, Marie Curie or Louis Pasteur and you may just sow a science seed in your preschooler’s young brain.

And they might just begin to look more closely at things around them and ask questions.  I think that’s the first step on the road to CERN.

Another bad school report



The centenary of Alan Turing, the maths brainbox and father of computer science, is coming up on June 23.  It’s always comforting to find that people we regard as super-clever often had a bumpy start at school. In Alan’s case, he didn’t impress his teachers at Sherborne School much.  Not because he wasn’t brilliant at maths – he was.  But more because, back then, education meant the classics – Greek, Latin, history, art, poetry, languages, philosphy etc.  His headmaster wrote in a report to his parents: “He must aim at becoming educated. If he is to be solely a scientific specialist, he is wasting his time.”

How things have changed!  In our modern world, maths and science are key tools in this computer and internet age.

For parents despairing of their children’s school reports, please remember that Darwin had a dreadful school career, that Van Gogh was miserably unpopular, that Galileo was almost kicked out of university and that Leonardo da Vinci didn’t even go to school!  He had to teach himself.

Find out all these cheering titbits in NowYouKnowAbout’s short films for anyone aged 6 – 100 who’s interested in famous people who made their mark.

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