Post by Asia Citro, author of The Curious Kid’s Science Book
Hi there! My name is Asia and I’m thrilled to be able to share about my passion, inquiry science, here with you. I’ll start with why inquiry science is so great for kids, then share a fun science experiment you can try today with materials you already have around the house.
Inquiry science is really just a fancy name for kid-led science.
Because if you go look at a professional scientist in a lab, they aren’t following someone else’s directions—they are making up their own experiments based off of their own questions. If you pick up the average science activity book from a bookstore, you’ll actually find a lot of demonstrations. This is when you follow someone else’s steps. And while demonstrations are certainly a lot of fun, I wanted to write a different sort of science book—thus The Curious Kid’s Science Book was born.
The ideal audience for this book is ages 4 through 8. Kids older than 8 will still enjoy the activities, but they will be ready for more in-depth explanations and more detailed note-taking than I discuss in the book. With ages 4 to 8, I focus a lot on keeping explanations very simple and to a minimum. So you will find a lot of simple explanations delivered in kid-language—the simpler the explanation, the more likely the little ones are to retain it. You will also find a lot of activities that put the kids in charge—this not only helps build their STEM skills, but also their confidence. They are proud to share what they discovered with these activities—they are true scientists!
There are three inquiry science activity types in The Curious Kid’s Science Book:
EXPLORE: Explore activities are designed to get kids observing and questioning. All experiments start with a great question—and some of these activities may lead to experiment ideas, which is perfect!
CHALLENGE: These are mainly engineering challenges, but they are designed to give kids a change to fail and learn from their mistakes. So often we shelter kids from science fails with books full of demonstrations guaranteed to work—but real science is full of failures. It is important to see failed attempts as learning experiences, and the challenge activities are a way to teach this.
EXPERIMENT: These are your typical classic scientific-method-experiments, only this time, you’ll see I leave the materials, directions, and data up to the kids. The beginning of the book has a bunch of information about what a simplified experiment looks like, what sorts of data kids are likely to gather, and suggestions for how to support your kids as they design their own experiments. Within each activity there are guiding questions to help children decide what they want to do, and there is an example of a kid scientist’s version of that experiment to give you, the parent, a better idea of what a kid-designed version of that experiment might look like.
Today I’m sharing an activity from my book that involves designing an experiment to answer the question: What Kind of Paper Flower Opens the Fastest? You should be able to use materials you have around your house to run the experiment today if you’d like! I’ve included snapshots of the activity from the book so that you get a better sense for what an experiment activity looks like:
If you’re curious about what the other activity types in the book look like, you can see a sampling here using Amazon’s Look Inside feature.
It was so fun to visit you all here at The Artful Parent today and I hope your kids have a blast experimenting with their paper flowers!
About Asia Citro
I am a former science teacher with a Master’s in Science Education. When my daughter was born, I decided to stay home full-time and shortly after my son was born, I started writing my blog, Fun at Home with Kids. I have since switched gears yet again and now pour all my spare time into writing books. The Curious Kid’s Science Book is my second of three activity books (all of which are available now) and I have a new chapter book series, Zoey and Sassafras, for kids grades K-6 that will be out next spring. In every one of my books (including the new chapter book series!), you’ll find a lot of science because I love teaching kids about inquiry science.
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