The Best And Awesome Science For Kids
Many exciting jobs require science qualifications. Even in such hot demand, some are projected to grow significantly in the next few years. They have good starting salaries as well.
16 Exciting Jobs Which Require Science Qualifications
Here are some of the top choices:
The world needs doctors. And as many populations around the world are living longer than ever before, the demand for health care will increase exponentially.
Animal care is required 24/7/365 in various locations, from small office-based practices to farms, zoos, animal shelters, and more.
3. Oceanography and Marine Biology
Some of those interested in living creatures might devote themselves to the ones that live in the ocean. Oceanographers study the sea, and marine biologists study the underwater inhabitants of our vast seas.
4. Environmental Science
This is a rapidly growing field as more and more people become concerned about climate change, waste and toxic waste, loss or change of habitats, and more.
5. Medical Researcher
Not everyone with a medical degree becomes a doctor. Some devote themselves to research, such as lab work, clinical trials, and data collection.
6. Health, Medical, and Scientific Writer
High-quality writing is always in demand thanks to the internet. Amongst the highest-paid writers are those who can write well about health, medicine, and science for various audiences, from ordinary people to medical professionals who need to take continuing medical education (CME) classes regularly to maintain their qualifications.
Biochemists study the impact of chemistry on living beings.
Biophysicists study the impact of physics on living beings.
Physicists are in high demand because there is always such a shortage. The same is true of high school physics teachers so that both careers can be highly profitable.
10. Atmospheric Scientist and Meteorologist
These scientists study the Earth’s atmosphere and environments. With the increase in mega-storms like hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Maria, this is a high-demand job that is well paid.
If you’re fascinated by the night sky, a career as an astronomer could be the perfect choice for a prosperous career.
12. Agriculture and Food Scientist
This career involves trying to improve agricultural efficiency and safety. These scientists also help trace outbreaks of food-borne illnesses like E. coli and listeria.
13. Archaeologist and Paleontologist
This career brilliantly combines science and history while working on digs and determining the unearthed finds. There is also underwater archaeology for skilled scientists who can work in those conditions.
14. Botanist and Forester
These careers focus on plants and trees. In forestry, husbandry of resources such as pruning, chopping down, and planting are all involved.
15. Forensic Scientist and Crime Scene Investigator
If you love crime dramas on TV, you’ve seen depictions of forensic scientists in action trying to provide concrete evidence to establish what happened in the course of a crime. With court convictions relying more heavily than ever on accurate forensic data, this is a growing field worth considering.
Some pathologists do post mortems to determine the cause of death. This is often part of a forensic investigation whenever a mysterious death takes place. But pathologists can also help the living, determining whether cancer is present in a cell sample or what might cause your stomach ache by examining a stool sample.
There are so many exciting jobs that require science qualifications, so do all you can to encourage your kids to take an interest in science.
How to Open a Science Club in School
Science is perhaps one of the most difficult subjects in school, which often means that not every student can take as much science as they might wish. They most likely do earth sciences and geology and some basic biology, but physics and chemistry are often out of reach.
Yet, these sciences can be fun and fascinating subjects when taught properly. Part of good science education is lab work and hands-on experience. Safety and proper supervision are key to the success of science-based activities. An enthusiastic teacher might start a science club.
Why a Science Club?
The educational benefits are already clear. Students might also get to meet new people, and the science club will always look good on their resume and college application.
1. Brainstorm what type of club it will be
Will it be open to the entire school or certain grades? Will we meet at lunchtime or after school?
2. Decide on a focus
It could be a club about the environment and climate change, astronomy, or whatever else the students and a supervising teacher are enthusiastic about.
3. Make a list of projects you would like to work on as a club or in small groups
Examples of environmental projects might include adopting a local park, keeping it clean, and growing a garden. Zoological projects might include research on a particular animal, field trips to zoos, bird watching, and so on.
4. Make a list of the people leading the club
Besides a teacher, it would be helpful to have a president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary to keep things running smoothly.
5. Ask permission from the school to hold the club
Many schools allow teachers to use their initiative. However, some schools have a more formula process for club approval that will need to be followed.
6. Write rules and regulations for the club
This will ensure everyone agrees. They know they will no longer be welcome in the club if they break these simple rules.
7. Make a list of safety rules and regulations
These will usually be like what a science teacher would give out to their class about lab work, but again, it is important to monitor safety issues in school at all times.
8. Work out funding and a budget
Most times, students might use equipment that is already in school. However, they might have to replace used-up materials. All of this can throw a department budget out of kilter.
Some schools have discretionary funding for school clubs and activities. Otherwise, students might fundraise for what they need, buy their supplies, and pay a small monthly fee for materials. The teacher and club treasurer will need to monitor the budget.
9. Set goals for the club
It is great to get together and enjoy science, but more might be learned if the group sets a goal each term they wish to accomplish.
10. Start with quick, fun activities for the club
Plan a few fun activities that will get people interested. Simple science experiments using common household items are always popular.
11. Spread the word about the club
Chances are students will invite their friends, but there shouldn’t be any cliques in the club or potential bullying situations. Use the quick, fun activities above as an icebreaker to help everyone feel welcome.
12. Keep the club alive
After all the hard work of setting up, don’t let things slide. Encourage new members, activities, and projects to keep students interested in science.
A science club can get students passionate about science. Who knows, maybe it will be the start of a distinguished career in one of the many science-based professions.
How to Teach Science through Baking
Baking is a tasty and fun hobby. Most people probably would not equate it with science, but it can be used as a tool to teach certain concepts.
Here are a few ways to teach science through baking to children of all ages.
Younger children are fascinated by cakes and muffins. These are quick bread. The raising (leavening) agent will often bake soda.
The mild acids in a second ingredient, milk, are enough to trigger a reaction and make the dough rise. This is an example of the reaction of an acid to an alkaline substance.
Baking powder will also make quick bread rise. It is baking soda with some added ingredients, cream of tartar, and cornstarch.
The baking soda is a base, and the cream of tartar is an acid, so it can be used in a range of recipes where acid might not otherwise be present. Baking powder makes cakes rise through the release of carbon dioxide gas.
Learning about Ph
The Ph (Potential Hydrogen) scale goes from 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral, 1 to 6 acidic, and 8 to 14 alkaline. Ph can be measured using litmus paper, so kids can test small amounts of common items in the kitchen to see which.
All science is about precision. In baking, in particular, children need to learn to calculate things for the recipe to come out well. They will learn basic measurements like cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons.
Yeast-raised bread is a challenge for all cooks and a fascinating science experiment too. You can start with a simple experiment, blowing up a balloon using yeast, to illustrate how yeast makes bread dough or pizza dough rise.
Blowing Up a Balloon with Yeast
You will need:
- A packet of active yeast
- A small, clean plastic soda bottle (16 oz.)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Some warm water
- A small balloon that will fit over the mouth of the bottle
Fill the bottle up with about one inch of warm water. Add the yeast and swirl the mixture around. Add the sugar next. The warmth activates the living organism, the yeast, and the sugar feeds it.
Now the yeast’s digestive system will start producing gas, which makes dough rise. Place the balloon over the neck of the bottle and put the bottle in a warm place. Within about 15 to 20 minutes, the balloon should inflate.
Once children have seen the way yeast works, they can learn to make their pizza dough. The major considerations are that the water can’t be too hot, and the dough needs to rise in a warm place.
Experimental Mini cakes
This will involve some waste, but it is a valuable lesson in how certain ingredients affect recipes and how important it is to follow baking instructions carefully.
You will need:
Four small greased ramekins for baking for each cake:
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 or 3 pinches of baking powder
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 of an egg (Break an egg into a cup; beat until mixed, then use approximately one-third of it. Save the rest for 2 of the other cakes)
Students will make four different batches of batter, with a difference. Make cake #1 exactly as instructed.
- Label it 1. Make #2 the same, except leave out the oil.
- Label it 2. Make #3 the same, except this time, leave the egg out.
- Label it 3. Make #4 the same, except leave the baking powder out.
- Label it 4. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet, keeping track of which, and bake them in a 350 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool briefly. Using a spoon, check the texture and taste of each cake. They can all be eaten, but eggs help hold recipes together and make them rise. The oil keeps cakes moist. Baking powder makes cakes rise.
Try these ideas, which are sure to provide hours of educational entertainment for your kids.
Nine Ways A Parent Can Encourage An Interest in Science
Children’s attitudes to education are formed through their parents’ attitudes to it. If education rather than entertainment is made a priority, then the activities you plan together as a family will be based around that.
Children will study many subjects in school, including science. Parents can help give their children a head start by encouraging science-based activities.
1. Tell Them Science Is Exciting
Some parents steer away from science because they badly in it or feel they don’t know enough. Avoid saying negative things that might dampen their enthusiasm, like “I always hated science at school.” Instead, treat it like a voyage of exploration for the entire family.
2. Visit Science and Natural History Museums
Museums are a great place to start. After all, what kids don’t love dinosaurs? Some natural history museums have a planetarium attached too. It’s a great way to get them interested in exploring the stars.
Most museums have a “Night at the Museum” sleepover, which could be a fun activity for the entire family. Math museums are becoming more popular, offering games, activities, and challenges that are so fun, most kids will not understand how much they are learning.
3. Discuss Career Options
Many children talk about what they want to be when they grow up. Much might say doctor, nurse, even astronaut. Parents can remind their children that they have to do well at science to get accepted into a college for any of those careers. The same is true if they want to be a veterinarian to help sick animals. Focusing on many opportunities to do well in science can help them feel eager for a future doing something they love.
4. Buy Them Educational Toys, Games, and Books
Every parent has a budget. Make your money go further with quality educational toys, games, and books they can learn from. In particular, you can buy them geology sets and chemistry sets when they are old enough to use them safely.
5. Choose Their TV Watching Carefully
There are many nature and science channels available on cable with a range of science and nature programs that can inspire children. Try the Discovery channels, National Geographical channels, and PBS programs like Nature and Nova.
6. Go on Nature Walks
Nature walks can be fun if you take the time to learn more about the trees, animals, and geological information about the area. Learn how to identify different trees and flowers. Take along some disposable rubber gloves and trash bags and clean up items that should be recycled as you wander along.
7. Stay Current with National and State Standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Their teacher can help by providing copies of what you need to know. There are also several books available that support subjects like math and science based on grade levels. Have your child do their homework and then a page of their supplemental workbook every day.
8. Make the Most of the Weekends and School Holidays
Give your children research projects to do in their spare time, so they are not just sitting around watching TV or playing computer games. See what their teachers have assigned, or ask them for suggestions. Have them researched a favorite animal, create a diorama of its habit, and so on. The possibilities are endless.
9. Visit Great Science-Based Websites
Visit the NASA site to learn more about our solar system. Visit zoo sites to learn more about the animals and spy on them through the panda cam. Discuss the issues of captivity, conservation, destruction of habitat, and climate change.
By doing these activities tailored to the age of your kids, you could help encourage a life-long interest in science.
Seven Fun Science Experiments to Do at Home
There are several fun science experiments you can do at home with children of all ages. It is just gathering the supplies and making sure you pay attention to health and safety.
Choose age-appropriate activities and watch your children’s love of science grow.
1. Large Magnets
Get several magnets to illustrate attraction and repulsion. Would you mind making sure they are large enough so a child can’t swallow them? You can create a maze on a piece of paper or cardboard and place a metal object like a paperclip on top. Slide the magnet underneath to drive the paperclip through the maze.
2. Coke Bottle Geyser
Get a 2-liter bottle of diet cola and a tube of mint Mentos candy. Go outside into an open space. Drop 7 Mentos into the bottle, preferably, and run away. Watch the soda shoot straight up out of the bottle like a geyser.
3. Invisible Ink
You will need half a fresh lemon, some water, a cotton bud, paper, and a lamp. Juice the lemon into the bowl and add a few drops of water. Dip the cotton bud into the lemon juice and write a message on the paper. Would you mind waiting for the juice to dry, so it becomes completely invisible? When you want to amaze people with the secret message, hold the paper close to the lamp or the bulb. The heat will make the writing appear.
4. Homemade Volcano
You will need a 25-ounce plastic bottle with the top cut off wide enough to place the ingredients inside. Place the bottle on top of a flower pot and surround it with dirt so that it does not wobble. Gather the following ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap
- 3 drops red food coloring
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
Add the soap and food coloring to the bottle. Add the vinegar. Pour in the water and fill the bottle almost to the top. Place the baking soda in a small cup and add a little water to it to moisten. Pour it into the bottle and step back. The contents will flow like lava out of a volcano.
5. Homemade Penicillin
Grow mold on bread by putting slices in different environments:
- In a plastic bag in the dark
- In a plastic bag in the sunlight
- On a plate uncovered
- In the refrigerator
…and see which one gets moldy first. Beware of bugs in this experiment.
6. Homemade Slime
This fun, stretchy substance can occupy kids for hours. You will need:
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1/4 cup of white craft glue (like Elmer’s glue)
- 1/4 cup of liquid starch (used for clothes)
- Green food coloring
In a mixing bowl, pour all the glue and add the water. Stir well. Add about six drops of food coloring. Stir in the starch. The mixture will soon bulge, and you can stretch it and shape it. Store in a plastic bag when you are not playing with it, so it does not dry out.
7. Homemade Clouds and Rain
This will teach children how clouds hold water and how they become too heavy; it rains. You need:
- Water, colored with some food coloring
- An empty jar/glass/vase with water in it
- Shaving foam
- An eyedropper
Squirt some shaving cream on top of the water in the vase. That will be your cloud. Pour the colored water into the vase carefully. It will rain under the “cloud” as the cream gets to where it can’t hold any more water. The colored water should make pretty patterns the kids will enjoy as well. Experiment with different colors to add interest.
These experiments are easy to do and can stimulate kids to take a greater interest in the wonderful world of science.
The Problems Faced by Science Teachers
There are several problems unique to science teachers which can pose challenges to even the best teachers.
Here are some of the main ones.
1. Safety Issues
Lab work is an important part of a chemistry course, but it can involve contact with dangerous chemicals. In addition, objects such as Bunsen burners or a gas supply can cause hazardous conditions if they are not supervised carefully to make sure they are turned off.
Students don’t always follow instructions, and some can be foolish or even malicious. They might be careless about wearing protective equipment and handling their experiments.
Science teachers need to be aware of what everyone is doing during the lab lesson. However, this is not always possible if students ask them questions.
2. Dealing with Sensitive Topics
Certain topics related to science can be sensitive and get parents up in arms. For example, some states only wish to teach creationism. In biology, lessons to do with the human reproductive system and discussions of birth control can get teachers into trouble.
Whenever a teacher starts at a new school, they need to investigate what the school district policy is concerning the way they teach topics such as evolution, cloning, stem cell research, etc.
3. Not Being Able to Go Deeply
The science curriculum is so driven by taking exams, and the coverage of so many topics, that it is difficult for science teachers to do more than scratch the surface. There is little time for in-depth studies.
4. The Time Required for Preparation and Administration
Most science teachers would like to teach. Unfortunately, there is a lot of preparation and set-up time for lab work and clean-up time afterward. There are also many lessons planning and grading of assignments that can’t be done in class. Science teaching is more hands-on than other subjects, and therefore many science teachers come in early and work late to get it all done.
5. Times and Timetabling
Each school has its length of lessons, and it is not always easy for students to complete all their lab work within 45 minutes. Science teachers need to plan carefully and may not do certain experiments because they will take too long. To timetabling, most science teachers would love a double period to give them a greater chance of getting everything done but are at the mercy of the senior staff.
6. Budget Constraints
Basic lab equipment can be quite expensive. Then there are the ongoing costs of maintaining inventory as students use up supplies and damage items during their lab work. Ambitious new teachers often feel the pinch as they come from college and face the reality of life in a primary or secondary school.
7. Aged Facilities
Because of budget constraints, many schools can’t afford up-to-date equipment. Many rooms are makeshift and configured so that there might not be enough room for all students in the class.
8. Missed Lab Work
Absent students can pose particular problems because, in most cases, it isn’t possible to set experiments up individually to complete the work. This means the science teacher will have to develop reading, research, or other alternatives to help them make up the work. This means still more lesson planning and grading.
One solution might be to film the labs and make them available on YouTube, but this also takes time, and the student will still have to complete written work related to the missed lab.
Science is a key subject, and the best schools will understand the challenges facing science teachers and do their best to address them.
Tips for Encouraging Girls to Get into Science
Statistics show that women in the U.S. receive fewer than 20% of Bachelor’s degrees in computer science, engineering, and physics. They are not represented in the other sciences either, nor in math. Educationalists are eagerly looking for ways to bridge this gap.
But we need to understand the reasons for it to solve the problem and develop effective ways to drive change.
Below are eight ways to encourage girls to get into science.
1. Positive Attitudes to Girls in Science and Math Electives
As students move up from elementary school to middle and high school, they have several choices of what to take. Girls are pushed into arts subjects and don’t always have time to do chemistry or physics. If there is a sped-up program for math and science, they often get passed over, even when their grades are as good if not better than the boys.
2. Positive Attitudes to Smart Girls
Many teachers and peers label smart girls “geeks,” and therefore different from other girls, even less desirable. The school and society need to applaud and reward academic ability and not just try to churn out girls who are “nice” and people-pleasers.
3. Allow Girls to Learn from Their Mistakes
Even when girls may enroll in math and science subjects, they are often encouraged to drop the course and take something easier at the first hint of a problem. But very few people have ever learned to ride a bicycle on the first attempt. Some students take longer than others to grasp concepts. It is also the teacher’s job to support every student in their class who is struggling, not write them off and get rid of them.
4. Encourage Girls to Be More Career Orientated
Many boys know what they want to be when they grow up, either through their own choice or pushy parents who want a son who is a doctor or engineer. If girls are interested in those careers, especially engineering, they may somehow be seen as freaks of nature. But the only way to get into those careers is through studying the right subjects. Girls in high school and college should focus on what classes will help them achieve their goals and cut out the fluff.
5. Go for AP
An Advanced Placement course in physics or calculus will be difficult, true, but it can also give college credits and a head-start on a degree without having to pay tuition if girls do well; great. If not, it won’t drag down their Grade Point Average (GPA) how a poor result in a college class would.
6. Offer Separate Classes for Boys and Girls
Some schools have offered single-sex classes in science and math because boys and girls learn differently and often struggle with society’s attitudes to them studying these subjects. The results have been very positive, with the all-girl classes outperforming co-ed classes and even the boys’ classes.
7. Expose Them to Role Models
Schools can invite alumni back or local professional women who can talk about how they reached their goals in life and attained their careers. The more models for success girls have, the more encouraged they will become that they can succeed in science, math, and technology.
8. Offer Additional Help
Parents can pay for additional tutoring or perhaps an online course. Teachers can give lunchtime and after-school support, where girls can ask questions informally. A science club is always a fun way to engage students and foster a genuine love of science.
These ideas can make a real difference between girls’ attitudes to science and society’s attitude to girls studying science.
Why We Need More Scientists
In the United States, more scientists are needed because of the considerable gap growing between the US and the rest of the world in terms of scientific abilities. Children, particularly girls, need to be encouraged at a young age to take up science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects.
According to Pew Research, America is nearing the bottom in terms of rank about the 35 most developed countries globally in STEM. In particular, math scores have plummeted in recent years.
The study (see link) shows that 38% of high school students are operating at the lowest level of math achievement.
When asked to rate STEM education in the US, 46% of scientists stated it was below average.
What’s Holding Kids Back?
One explanation is that US education has become so focused on exams and rote learning that children’s natural curiosity is being erased. Parents do it too. We get irritated when our kids ask us “Why?” all the time. We don’t know the answers, don’t want to find out, and don’t encourage our children to find out either.
But with an entire world of knowledge right at our fingertips thanks to the internet, it doesn’t have to be this way. We can support children as they seek answers. Teachers can foster an atmosphere in their classrooms where it is okay to ask questions without silly in front of their peers.
Teachers can also be more approachable, willing to answer questions after class or by appointment with the student. Not every child will be an Einstein, but often the support and encouragement of a teacher or mentor can lead to great things.
Attracting Talent into Teaching
Another central issue is that very few STEM graduates go into teaching. Few would opt for teaching in primary school, but those are exactly the years at which a child’s imagination can be captured.
Science is often treated as optional in middle school and for the best students only, leaving the majority without access. In high school, a crammed timetable often means science gets shortchanged. It becomes difficult and something to be endured, not an exciting career choice.
This is especially true for girls. They are steered towards arts subjects, not STEM. This gender bias has serious consequences in terms of career options for women and career advancement if they decide to pursue a STEM career.
The report “Why So Few?” gives several reasons for this, including unconscious bias and a lack of role models, and makes various suggestions on how things can change for the better:
Growing the Economy
STEM helps grow the economy, which is a good thing for all. Competition and promising new technologies, for example, stimulate profits and increase the value of companies and their stocks and shares. Japan, South Korea, and Germany are just three of the top countries that have led to technological innovation.
That innovation comes from those who dare to ask, “Why,” and try to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
Respect for Science
Science does not have all the answers, but scientists do actively seek knowledge and the truth. Recent years have seen a trend towards taking science out of school to favor creationism and disrespect for scientific findings such as vaccinations, climate change, and even the moon landing.
Students taught creationism would be at a severe disadvantage if they ever wished to major in science at college. Continual exposure to science from a young age will help foster a more curious worldview, making children eager to learn and grow up doing something they are passionate about.
Hopefully, awareness of the issue is the first step. And any parent would do well to encourage the children to take an interest in science.
Work Experience to Get Your Older Child into Science
There are many work experience opportunities to help get your older child into science. Children aged 14 and over may get a work permit provided their parents give permission.
There are internships during summer vacations and volunteer opportunities all year round. The only limitation is where you live, but even that might not be the case if your child were selected for a residential opportunity in another state or country. Some internships might even be paid.
Animal Shelter Volunteer
Animal shelters always need help in caring for the animals, including feeding and walking them. For any child who loves animals or is planning a career as a vet, this is a must.
Vet’s Office Volunteer
Some vets will allow students planning to be a vet to shadow them and help them around the practice.
Many of the top zoos have internships for keen students who want to learn more about particular animals or immerse themselves in the chance to work at a zoo surrounded by the wonders of nature.
Farm Work/Animal Husbandry
Chance are there is a local farm that would love to have a volunteer or intern. There are also farm-based summer camps and farms that welcome paying guests with inexpensive or free room and board for helping with the animals. Check to see the youngest age limits at the farm this could be a fun activity for the entire family.
Natural History Museum Intern
Lucky interns get to work on many projects related to the museum’s displays and collection.
Some museums also organize archaeological digs in the US and overseas to need volunteers or interns.
Science Enrichment Programs
These encourage students interested in science to dig deeper. There are also some dedicated to medical studies. Students could learn and help administer the program, such as by aiding younger students.
Science Camp Counsellors
Every year, eager students head off to science camp. They will always need counselors to supervise them. Responsible high school students who like mentoring younger children might find this a great opportunity.
Botanical Gardens and Forestry Internships
For those fascinated by plants and trees, internships at botanical gardens or the Forest Service might be ideal.
Students can start internships at 15. Several universities offer the chance to become a park ranger for those passionate about working in the parks.
Aquariums and Fisheries
Students who love the water and are fascinated by what lurks under the oceans will find a range of opportunities at local aquariums and through the Fisheries Department.
Labs are always looking for smart students who can aid in the smooth running of the lab and help with data collection, computing results, etc. However, some labs will engage in testing on live animals, so ask lots of questions before agreeing to intern anywhere.
Various health-related charities like the Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, and Arthritis Foundation are always looking for interns who can help advance their work.
Many businesses hire freelancers to help them with web design, troubleshoot games, do usability testing on a new site, and more. Computer-crazy kids should find plenty of work during the summer and all year round.
For more ideas, see https://cty.jhu.edu/imagine/resources/internships/science.html.
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