Careers in science, technology, engineering, and math are in high demand for good reason. STEM professionals offer creative and analytical solutions to many of the world's biggest problems. But how do we encourage the next generation to be interested in these fields?
We should introduce them to the wonders of the universe and the excitement of experimentation early in life. We should support their curiosity and investigations. We should help them notice and study their surroundings. We should encourage their questions and ask some of our own. It's okay if you don't know the answer! You can discuss it together, design an experiment, or turn to the internet to learn more.
Here's a list to get you started on cultivating the little scientist in your home.
1 | Do you think this object will sink or float?
2 | What do you think will happen when we mix these ingredients together?
3 | Do you think this will dissolve in water?
4 | How do you think this food will change in the oven?
5 | How do you think this would change in the freezer?
6 | How does a toy car act differently on a hard or soft surface?
7 | How do you think you could make it go faster?
8 | How do you think you could get it to slow down?
9 | What happens when you mix colors?
10 | Why do you think ice melts?
11 | Will the water level in a glass of ice water change as the ice melts?
12 | Why does the water level go down if you leave a cup of water out all night (in dry conditions)?
13 | Why do some foods get warmer on the table while others get cooler (e.g., yogurt vs soup)?
14 | Why do bubbles always form spheres?
15 | How can you make your tower taller (or stronger)?
16 | Can you describe what the wind feels like?
17 | Can you describe what the rain feels like?
18 | Which of these objects feels hotter in the sun?
19 | Which of these colors feels hotter in the sun?
20 | Why do you think hair gets longer?
21 | Why do you think cuts and bruises usually go away?
22 | Why do you think plants grow?
23 | What things does your body need to grow?
24 | What do you think the inside of this object looks like?
25 | How can we improve our paper airplane design?
26 | What can you build with these objects?
27 | Why do you think this rock looks this way?
28 | What kind of bugs might live in the ground here?
29 | Why do the leaves change through different seasons?
30 | Why do you think the moon changes?
31 | What do you think this would look like if it was 10 times bigger (or smaller)?
32 | How tall do you think this is?
33 | How long do you think this is?
34 | How much do you think this weighs?
35 | Which thing do you think weighs more?
36 | Which object feels harder?
37 | Which object feels smoother?
38 | What material do you think this is made of?
39 | How do you think this is made?
40 | Does this need energy to work?
41 | Where do you think it gets its energy from?
42 | What's making that sound?
43 | What can you do to change the sound?
44 | Can you describe what you smell?
45 | Why do you think it smells like that?
46 | How do these things taste different?
47 | How does adding an ingredient change the taste?
48 | How do you think a coat or blanket keeps you warm?
49 | How does a fan keep you cool?
50 | What's an experiment we could try?
As you start with basic questions of forming hypotheses, designing experiments, and making observations, you and your little scientist will discover many new ways to investigate the world. Incorporating scientific questions into daily activities is easier than you think and will fuel creative problem solving for the whole family!