Is your child among the science lovers? Does your child look forward to their Natural Science and Technology period at school? Is your high school teenager willing to choose science as a grade 10 subject? The chances are probably not.

In the lower grades, science content seems rather too tedious and boring to consume. Since primary school it is believed that the content is something that ought to be learned in parrot-fashion. Whilst in high school many teenagers break out in hives at the mere mention of, “Science” as the content seems too complex to grasp.

How many children or teenagers are inspired to be scientists? We’ve heard of artists, Mathematicians, and Linguists but rarely ever scientists. This leads us to questions like: are scientists born or can we assist in the creation of scientists?

Chemistry is a branch within science that also receives negative responses. The word chemistry connotates fear, anxiety, and boredom. That is because the denotation behind the word is unknown.

So What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is basically the study that involves elements, compounds, ions, molecules, their properties and structures.  Knowing how elements and basically everything relates to each other helps us define our world. To learn just how intricately intertwined with our daily lives chemistry is, YouTube videos such as everyday uses of chemistry should help. It highlights the point that chemistry is so intertwined with our daily lives that even basic things like cooking and watching television is chemistry. Once children realise that chemistry cannot be separated from daily lives perhaps it will persuade them to become more enthusiastic about the field of study.

Why is Chemistry a Branch of Science That’s Avoided?

Firstly there is a stereotype that most old people do chemistry, this stereotype needs to be dispelled by teachers who showcase chemistry as youthful and fun. The other idea is that chemistry is far too boring and clearly it is not. If teachers are able to effectively disseminate chemistry modules as per the curriculum and employ the GDE lesson plans correctly perhaps they can change students’ ideas and spark  chemistry between learners and chemistry. Teachers are at the core of fostering an interest in the subject but they are fighting a one-sided battle if learners are not effectively engaging with content.

How to Spark a Bonding to Chemistry?

Aside from common stereotypes and preconceptions, a fair amount of Mathematic skills are needed to master chemistry content. Chemical equations can only be solved if solving Mathematical equations also comes easily. The periodic table of elements must be studied from earlier grades, as early as grade 7, so by the time learners reach high school they are fully aware of each element, the mass and atomic number of each element. Then also children should learn how chemicals bond knowing how to define both atoms and ions. Perhaps if the teacher is struggling to get the message across during class time or the child feels uneasy about the bare basics of chemistry from a young age then parents can allow a Superprof tutor to step in and assist. The right type of tutoring relationship can too cause a chemical bonding with content to develop. Tutors can step in to reinforce content learnt and sometimes have to start from the bare basics. Interactive videos can also stimulate children to grasp content better since children of today are more visual and interactive due to advances in technology.

girl on bench with helium balloons
Why do helium-filled balloons float? Explore this question with your child. - Source; Unsplash

When Do I Create a Chemical Reaction Towards Chemistry?

When to create a love for chemistry is at all times possible. Here’s 6 steps on when the moment can arise.

  • A love for any subject can be created and fostered at home. Parents are instrumental role models and their perceptions and ideologies often get passed down to their children. If you hated chemistry and have bad memories linked to the subject, perhaps this will show in your approach towards it and in the way you would discuss it with children. This will, in turn, make your children feel negative about the subject. If your approach towards chemistry and other sciences cannot change than it’s the time to rope in an expert. This is where a Superprof tutor can be called upon to encourage your love for the Sciences as well as help your child to develop a love for the subject.
  • Remember if you do not reinforce the idea that science is necesary in everyday life perhaps the young students won’t see it either. It is always important to tell learners why each subject that they do is important in their everyday lives as well as teach them how these subjects will assist them in the future. Think about the fizz that forms when adding a sachet of Eno to a glass of water. Explain that a chemical reaction has occurred.
  • Get involved with the kids’ homework so that you too can brush up on the science content and see if the CAPS curriculum has evolved the learning content in any way in comparison to the content that was available during your studies. Showing interest in kids’ work also helps them to maintain interest.
  • A visit to Sci-Bono Discovery Centre may spark some excitement in kids towards the sciences.
  • Talk science and chemistry at home. Watch programmes geared specifically towards encouraging science-The Big Bang Theory can be watched for some laughs and geekiness too.
boy holding beaker and test tubes
Your child might just need the right outlet for expressing his love for science. - Source: Pixabay

The excitement for science starts from parents and at home but a Superprof chemistry tutor can step in to reinforce the content and assist in helping students with content that you too may find complex.

Why Are Science Experiments for Kids Important?

The reason behind doing science as a subject (as stated in most textbooks) is to satisfy children’s inborn curiosity. Do you know the saying, ‘curiosity killed the cat? Well, science encourages curiosity in children. This curiosity can be satisfied when children discover things. The discovery process can occur through experiments. Let’s use the five components of scientific methods to see exactly why engaging children in experiments is an important step for lifelong learning:

Observation: Start with easier experiments. Perhaps start with states of matter. Take some liquid  (this could be water or orange juice) and freeze it. Give the liquid time to freeze and then allow the child to observe what happened to the liquid. It’s simple experiments like these that arouse children’s  curiosity and awe them.

For older children, chaos and mess is the order of the day! Perhaps try to use bicarbonate of soda to cause a liquid solution to fizzle over. The mentos meet fizzy drink volcano which actually erupts is sure to be a feast for their eager eyes.

Making colourful slime could also be an interesting observation.

Just going outside could be an observational treat. Children can have a look at the different types of soil: building soil and planting soil. They can be encouraged to get their hands messy and view the different sizes of particles and properties of the soil.

child making homemade volcano
Create a model volcano to demonstrate how real volcanoes erupt. - Source: Pixabay

Allowing children to observe science in daily situations will naturally help them establish a love for science and all the components of chemistry.

Questions: Children (especially younger ones) love asking questions. This is a key component of being a great scientist-questioning everything. Help them to question things that they have observed. If they cannot come up with questions, prompt them and stimulate their thinking.

Ask: Why did the liquid substance become ice?

What will happen if we heat liquid instead of cool it?

What causes real life volcanoes?

If we use this substance will the slime become too sticky to play with?

Which type of soil can a plant grow in?

Why is this type of soil used to plant and why is this type of soil used to build?

Hypothesis: Help learners document their observations and formulate a hypothesis. Teach them that every test requires a hypothesis to be formulated. Get them to contemplate the purpose of formulating a hypothesis. Let them study scientists from the past and the hypothesis that they had formulated.

Methods: In order to ensure you make the most of the experiments ensure that you adhere to core principles. Whilst spur of the moment observations could work too, adhere to more planned experiments for learning to actually initiate the learning process. Make sure that all the equipment that is necessary for the experiments is easily available. Set up an area that is specific for the experiment in case there is going to be a mess. Always put safety first. The equipment used is also quite important and must be carefully considered as the equipment and experiment itself must be age-appropriate. This is important as certain experiments will appeal more to younger students.

Results: Results in your child will show automatically from their enthusiasm to grasp content. Superprof allows tutors to travel to you and also gives your children the option to learn through online means and will assist in improving their results and love for sciences.

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Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.