How to Get Your Child Engaged in Science

African American children are the most likely consumers of digital technology but are rarely exposed to what it takes to create it, says Leshell Hatley, whose nonprofit, Uplift Inc., won a $162,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Competition. She’s using the money to fund YouthAppLab and teach African American and Latino children in Washington, D. C., how to build mobile apps. Here are four things she says parents can do to increase their child’s interest in technology, math, and science.

  1. Don’t tell your child to sit down and be quiet, says Hatley. Science is basically about exploring a problem and solving it. Allow your child to ask questions and safely investigate his or her surroundings.
  2. Don’t readily give them the answers. Instead of telling children how condensation works, create a lab in your home where they can explore, make mistakes, and find answers.
  3. Point and explain. “Pointing starts the connection,” says Hatley. “It is a commonly used technique for learning and it increases engagement.”
  4. Look around your home and talk about where things come from. Ask them questions about how products (TVs, computers, etc.) are made and what types of things they would like to invent. Make a connection between those ideas and the lessons the child is learning in their math and science classes.
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