For parents, one of the best ways to engage a child in what they’re learning is to embrace their natural curiosity. In fact, research from the University of California, Davis found that not only does curiosity place the brain in a state more conducive to learning, but it also makes the act of learning more enjoyable.
STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects can sometimes intimidate children due to their complexity. One of the ways to make STEM more accessible is to introduce STEM principals via engaging, hands-on activities.
Consider the following tools and associated hands-on activities to emphasize the power of perspective and magnify your child’s curiosity in the world around them!
A magnifying glass is made of a single convex lens that magnifies whatever is placed in front of it. Because these types of lenses are thicker in the center than they are at the edges, rays of light that pass through the glass converge on a single point, which creates an amplification effect. Give your child a magnifying glass and encourage them to observe the world around them in a unique way. Have them look at flowers, trees and insects and ask what unique details they might be able to observe for the first time.
Binoculars offer a simple way to observe faraway objects. As you peer through binoculars, the two convex lenses allow magnification of up to 10 times your normal vision. For observing animals in their natural habitat, this tool is ideal, allowing children to view wildlife from a safe and accessible distance. Using a pair of binoculars, encourage your child to go birdwatching, and ask them to draw pictures of the different types they are able to find.
Microscopes provide the most powerful form of magnification — professional models are able to magnify objects by over 1,000 times. By placing items underneath the lens of a microscope, users are even able to observe the cellular structure of organic material! If you have access to a microscope, have your child find a leaf outside and ask them to describe what new characteristics they can see!
Learn more about how to engage your child in STEM subjects
At the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, we are committed to inspiring the next generation of world-changing inventors. For more exciting STEM ideas and activities, we encourage you to check out our blog. For more information about all of our education programs, please visit our website.