A different way to teach science

When we moved to Montreal, my son was eleven. He happened to find an old, 1920, book in a thrift store called something like Science Today, which was an overview of the cutting edge of science as of 1920, with exciting old black and white photos of things like the first electric streetlights in Canada. It had chapters on different subjects of scientific interest. He started reading it, and asking my husband questions about how out of date it was, and what had changed since it was written. This became an activity, where my son would read a chapter, and then my husband would go through it with him talking about how our understanding of electricity, or atomic theory, or biology, had changed since the book was written. This was immensely valuable because it didn’t just teach him science, it taught him that science is a constantly changing process, not The Truth but constant experimental attempts to discover how the universe works. Learning it this way was both fun and very effective, and he learned far more both facts and what science is than he did in school science classes. If people are stuck at home looking for ideas for teaching science to their kids this might be worth a try, and it’s easy. Old popular science books tend to be available for next to nothing, and the current state of the field can now be found on Wikipedia.

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