Environmental chemist, nuclear engineer, molecular geneticist, forensic anthropologist, theoretical physicist, neuroscientist, meteorological specialist.
Ask anyone in these prestigious professions why we need science and they will either come up with a very complicated, specific answer having to do with their field, or a really simple one: because we just do. Everyone, everywhere. We NEED science. Need some examples? Watch this video. See second chances at life, people helping people experience the world like they haven’t before, or haven’t been able to in a long time, all because of the discoveries of other humans, scientists. But why did those people become scientist? Because they were intrinsically driven to learn about science, math or technology? Probably. Because they all just had a nack for understanding intricate processes? Maybe. Because when they were young, they were encourage by someone, a parent or a teacher, to just ask why? Definitely.
Today is World Science day for Peace and Development, an official event created by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization and celebrated every November 10th. This year’s theme is “Quality Science Education; ensuring a sustainable future for all” and champions the idea that quality science education is the catalyst of curiosity that will eventually create the innovations needed for sustainable development for our society. As the UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, says, a science education will benefit the world by “releasing the boundless talent of young women and men” and give children the tools to unlock the discoveries that are in their heads. To do this, Bokova continues,
“…we need to foster interest in science from an early age by encouraging programs that stimulate inquisitiveness, that mobilize the ambition to know, and then to know more.”
The ambition to know, and then know more. Studies show that being exposed to science and engineering practices in the early years (3 to 5 year olds) can stimulate children’s curiosity and encourage enjoyment in exploring the world around them. It also lays the foundation for scientific learning that children will benefit from in school settings and far beyond. Everyone child deserves this kind of education because even though it sounds scholarly and strict, it’s really just fun. It’s rolling around outside, asking “why is the sky blue?” and “how do bees fly?” It’s turning a switch and wondering how the light comes on, then taking the lamp apart to watch it happen.
The next opportunity you have to hang out with a child, try incorporating some sort of science driven learning that is cloaked in fun and see what happens. Mobilize their ambition to know things! Follow the child’s lead and try to give them honest answers that simultaneously satisfy curiosity and but leave them wanting more. If you need some places to start, check out UNESCO’s website to be inspired and impressed with what a young scientist can really do with even the smallest opportunity and watch Irina Bokova’s full speech. PBS has activities for all ages and on all topics and good ol’ Bill Nye continues to brings science to life for all generations with at home experiments that you can watch or do yourself!
UNESCO’s education for all theme this year hits close to home for us at Arbordale because this is exactly why we started a children’s picture book publishing company. Our sincere goal is to help parents and teachers teach science and math with books that excite children’s imaginations and spark curiosity. Visit our website to read our story and see more about how we are working to use our books as launch pads for learning.
Happy World Science Day!