We do a lot of science activities at our house and I am always looking for opportunities to get my kids to think like scientists.
Sure, I want them to learn scientific properties, but even more important to me is getting them to use the scientific method to develop critical thinking skills. When kids are making observations, developing and testing hypotheses and determining conclusions they are learning how to be problem solvers.
How to Teach Kids to Think Like Scientists:
Encourage kids to study and examine the world around them. Go outside and observe what is happening in your backyard. Being able to notice and identify what is going on helps give kids the background knowledge they need to look for creative solutions.
Scientists ask lots of questions and so do children, it comes naturally to them. Instead of just answering their many questions ask them some of your own too. Getting into a habit of asking why, how, and what if helps kids to be solution generators.
To make a prediction about what will happen next helps kids understand cause and effect. Let kids use what they already know to guess what will happen next and then test to see if they are right.
Test and Experiment
Give children the opportunity to discover answers for themselves. Let them test their predictions and experiment to see what happens. Experimenting gives kids the ability to learn for themselves instead of memorizing information that someone else has discovered. This builds confidence and deeper understanding. During experiments kids also get to practice measuring, counting, and comparing which develop their analytical thinking skills.
Allow kids to think about and come to conclusions about the new things they have learned. Putting together information and analyzing it helps to develop higher level thinking skills. The more kids get a chance to practice drawing their own conclusions the better critical thinkers they become.
Kids science activities don’t have to be complicated to be effective. Things like determining which items dissolve in water or building with Lego bricks give kids opportunities to think like scientists.
More Kids Science Experiments:
- 10 Hands On Science Experiments for Kids
- Candy Heart Science Experiment
- Does it Dissolve Experiment
- Candy Science M&M Experiment
- Science is Everywhere Pinterest Board
Science isn’t just for kids either! Grown ups can learn scientific thinking skills too. Have you seen Brain Games on the National Geographic Channel yet? I got to screen tonight’s new episode and I am totally obsessed!
It premieres tonight February 24th at 9pm EST on the National Geographic Channel and is totally worth setting the DVR for! The premise is that your brain can benefit from regular updates and upgrades like a computer and it’s just plain fun.
Disclosure: The National Geographic Channel let me watch the new episode early but in no other way sponsored this post…my opinions are my own.