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We created Myles & Ayesha and positioned them as learning companions for your child as they explore reading, history, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts together. Our intent is for this exploration to happen through animation, on the web, and within mobile and other applications. It is our hope that this exploration will also continue in your homes and neighborhoods.
As such, here is an expanded list of suggestions we offer to get your child/children engaged in science. This list began in the February 2011 issue of Black Enterprise magazine (p. 46).
1. Allow your child to ask questions and safely investigate his or her surroundings. When out and about, please don’t have them just sit down and be quiet. Science is basically about exploring, asking questions, pondering, and solving problems.
2. Create ‘Labs’ at home. When your child/children ask questions, don’t just give them the answers. Create a safe, guided place (lab) in your home and where they can try, test, make mistakes, and find the answers on their own. This is a great time to learn together.
3. Point and explain. Especially at an early age, pointing at and discussing objects, events, and life around you is a great way to engage your child in asking questions and wondering about the world around them. Pointing starts the connection and young children do it naturally. Continue to support them as they ask and inquire.
4. Investigate how things are made. From the TV, to your child’s favorite video game or animated movie. The web is a vast resource with ‘how things work’ articles and web clips abound. Take time to surf the web with your child – either on your computer or mobile device; stay and watch the credits roll after a great animated movie and notice the various careers/job titles involved in make it. Do the same for the video games and other tools and electronics. This will not only help career exploration, but it will also move kids into the space of creation instead of just consumption.
5. Visit your local science center. Science centers are awesome places to safely explore and learn. You can spend hours in one visit before even realizing it. This is a great way to introduce exploratory practices. And make sure you visit more than once. Feel free to give your kids projects and assignments after each visit as well. Keep the momentum.
6. Read. Visit your local library and read everything from biographies to picture books – whatever is age appropriate for your child. Not only is this a great way to explore what others have done, but it also helps to form the habit of visiting the library. It is a great place to explore different times, people, cultures, and worlds. But don’t just stop there, begin to create a library at home. There’s nothing like reaching for a book in your own home. Let your child/children grow up with that feeling!
7. Write. Writing is a great form of self expression and creativity. Help your child record findings, interesting facts, and of course, their own imaginings. Writing stories are a great way to combine science and imagination. You can also self-publish them – either officially or typed and printed at home or with your local printing service.
8. Stand on the Backs of Giant. Make sure you discuss what scientists and other explorers have done in the past. One great way to begin that is with our app, The Myles & Ayesha Black Inventors Game. You can also visit The Black Scholars Index (another product created by Uplift, Inc.) to learn what researchers are doing in academia.
9. Get Friends & Cousins Involved. Let everyone join in on the fun!
10. Form Habits. Make it all a part of your household’s regular activities.
These are just a few of a growing list of suggestions.
Feel free to try these, tell use the outcome, and share your own suggestions. We’ll be happy to add them with your name here.