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Keys to Promoting Science to Kids

Earlier this year, Jayme Cellitioci, creativity and innovation strategist at the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), was invited by John Falk, executive director at the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI), to take part in a national cohort to dream up the future of science museums.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, and in collaboration with the Association of Science and Technology Centers, and Immersive Learning Research Network, over the course of the year, Cellitioci and her colleagues developed a series of ideas and strategies that will help the free-choice science learning field envision its next steps and future.

“It was incredible to have the opportunity to connect with diverse leaders across the country to dream, diverge and dialogue about the tremendous opportunity we have to envision, and re-envision, the future of science interest, engagement, accessibility and literacy,” Cellitioci said. “It will only be through our collective efforts that we will reap collective rewards.”

Compiled within a larger report, “Science Museum Futures,” Cellitioci, along with Sharon Klotz, executive director for Design for America; Christian Greer, president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center; and Dennis Schatz, fellow at ILI, composed an article titled “Science-Interest Revolution.” This article argues for early and frequent exposure to science-related experiences.

“We want the message to ‘Do Science with Your Child Every Day’ to be as prolific (and clear) as ‘Read to Your Child Every Day,’” the authors said. “Imagine families engaged in science-based activities in the kitchen, in the car, at the park—anywhere/everywhere—discussing science topics around the dinner table along with the latest baseball scores and going first to the science section at the library on their first visit.”

Within the article, the authors identify five key concepts to pique children’s interest in science:

  1. Envisioning the “science version” of “Reading is Fundamental” will help to promote an accessible and community-minded approach to increasing the value of the sciences within our larger cultural structures.
  2. Moving beyond traditional hands-on science activities is important, and families should consider finding connections within sports, music, gaming and even fashion.
  3. Welcoming parents, grandparents, caregivers, siblings, civic leaders and other members of the community to help spark and sustain interest in and passion for science is crucial to dismantling traditional connotations around the word “science” and around who arbitrates what science looks like.
  4. The engine for a science interest revolution lies within our everyday, intimate family and community relationships where we’ve made space for inquiry, curiosity and wonder and can equip and empower adults to “do” and discuss science anywhere and everywhere.
  5. Science interest isn’t predicated on knowing, but rather in normalizing science processes, encouraging inquiry and embracing the sense of wonder that the subject provides.


NIHF Is Committed to Science Literacy

By continuously developing hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curricula for grades PreK-8, introducing our diverse group of Inductees to the next generation, and contributing to scholarship in invention education and experiential learning, NIHF has been a leader in promoting science literacy for more than 30 years.

Check out our blog for the latest STEM learning strategies and techniques you can use in your classroom.

To read ILI’s Science Museum Futures report in its entirety, we invite you to visit its website.

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