Their daughter Betsy is now a biochemistry major in college. From a 6th-grade prize-winning project on crystals, Betsy moved onto “tribolumninescence”—in other words, what makes wintergreen Lifesavers ™ spark when chomped on. Betsy discovered a property not previously known: that aspirin crystals are triboluminescent. “My interest in science was absolutely nurtured by my parents,” says Betsy, and even “helped me gain more respect from my peers.”
Other steps parents can take to support science learning:
Recognize the potential for bias. Make a conscious effort to introduce cause-and-effect statements when discussing scientific observations with daughters. Use challenging language and scientific vocabulary in your explanations. Don’t assume that your daughter won’t be interested or capable of understanding.
Be a role model. Show your daughter your own interest in scientific questions and how they apply to daily life.
Make science fun. Visit interactive exhibits at children’s science museums. Play educational computer games together. Enter a project in the school science fair.
Ask and encourage scientific questions. “What do you think makes the bread dough rise when we add yeast to it?” Answer your daughter’s scientific questions to the best of your knowledge. Don’t be afraid to say, “That’s a great question, but I don’t know the answer. Let’s look it up.”
And remember: Josephine’s right. That spot of wing color is the speculum. Let’s call it that.
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