This is a four-year-old's explanation of why you hear thunder only after you've seen lightning:
"You can listen to thunder after lightning and tell how close you came to getting hit. If you don't hear it: you got hit. So, never mind."
It's cute, of course, but notice how much thought this little child has given to the matter. Whether your child is a preteen or a toddler, she has a natural tendency to seek out reasons for the various mysteries of life that she comes across.
Your child's scientific temper is directly related to the environment she is in and the company she keeps. Therefore, your parenting style has a lot to offer towards the development of scientific temper in your child.
We have come up with a few ideas to help you nurture in your child an evidence-based curiosity for anything happening around her.
How to develop a scientific temper?
A pro-science home will encourage your child to make the most of his enquiring mind.
Encourage him to ask questions
Allow him to seek out answers on his own
Guide and direct him to reliable sources of reference like a dictionary or encyclopedia
Let TV time be more for scientific programs than for entertainment
Teach your child critical thinking skills to better her problem-solving skills and IQ.
Your child needs to use her reasoning and ask questions like, 'Why is this happening?' or 'Is this the right way to respond?' or 'Who said this? Can I trust this instruction?'
Do not hinder your child's willingness to test so-called established ideas.
Never halt your child's evaluation processes by saying 'Because I said so'. Instead encourage her to ask, 'How do I know if this is true?' or 'How can I be sure?'
Teach your child the logical sequence of science. General principles can create specific instances and, therefore, specific instances represent general principles.
Point out exceptions to established norms and encourage her to marvel at some things which are still mysteries.
Steer your child away from finding answers on the Internet
Support your child's experiments to find the answers to questions like: 'How does water move around in a plant?' and 'What objects float or sink in water?'
Coax your child to write out his reasoning and read it to the family.
Cheer your child on as he creates models or diagrams to explain what he's discovered.
Give your child time and permit the mess for a 'show and tell' of what he's gathered.
It's not only learning, your child needs to study
Avoid using chapter questions when it comes to academics. Pick up your child's books once every few days and ask her something that doesn't have a direct answer in the book.
Make some of the learning application-based. The rising of yeast, the metamorphosis of a caterpillar, and the sprouting of saplings are some examples of application-based learning that she will enjoy.
We live in times when there is a surfeit of knowledge in the form of reading material. Advise extra reading to improve her analysis of information.
Employ fun elements such as games and electronic devices
Chess is an excellent game to help your child develop logical sequencing and strategic skills.
Reading comprehension exercises for various levels of tasks help nurture scientific temper.
Riddles and brain teasers are all-time favorites that infuse excitement and challenge into analysis and problem soving.
Your child will use her knowledge with ease as you explore things together. Have discussions with her. Focal points for discussion must include important elements specific to creating a scientific bent of mind.
Simulate wonder in your child by presenting the logic and rationality behind events, happenings, and processes. Your child will enjoy the journey of arriving at understanding.
Encourage your child to find scientific evidence for results and conclusions that she comes to. Let her not simply take someone's word for it.
Motivate her to obliterate traditional, customary, and unfounded biases. Teach her to argue and debate these.
Developing scientific temper and promoting Science
To develop scientific temper and encourage more and more young Indians to take up science as a subject, the Government of India has designated May 11 as the National Technology Day. The Government also runs various schemes for the promotion of Science, some of which are:
MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge) - launched to encourage scientific innovation among school children of class VI to X.
Knowledge and Awareness Mapping Platform (KAMP) - an initiative to assess and encourage scientific temper in students in the age group of 10 to 18 years. KAMP will also facilitate the participation of students in the India International Science Festival (IISF).
SERB Distinguished Investigator Award (SERB-DIA) - a scheme to empower exceptional scientists.
Scheme for Young Scientists and Technologists (SYST) - to encourage young scientists to come up with science-based solutions to existing/futuristic problems.
Development of innovation hubs in different parts of the country.
Development of science cities and science centers in different parts of the country.
You have to be patient as developing a scientific temper takes time. Nevertheless, in a world that is replete with misinformation, uncertainty, and flux, your child needs to be unreservedly reliant on his scientific temperament. This is a strength that will equip him to be an invaluable citizen of the world, regardless of the career path he chooses to embark on.
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