Cooperative Extension Fact Sheets
Science & Math #2
What is Science and Science Inquiry?
- Science is "the process of becoming aware of and understanding ourselves, other living things, and the environment through the senses and personal exploration".
- Children are naturally curious. They are constantly asking questions, using their taste, sight, hearing, touch, and smell to find out more. A sense or wonder is the essence or inquiry. Nurturing this natural sense of wonder in children is key to science learning.
- Imagine a child playing on a beach. A rock is used as a shovel, a stick quickly becomes the flagpole for a sand castle, and a leaf becomes an alligator floating in the moat. Children invent alternate uses for everyday objects all the time. Children should be able to do their own experimenting and their own research with adults only as guides on the journey.
- Scientific inquiry means using knowledge, imagination, reasoning, and process skills to actively develop science understanding. Through inquiry, youth practice life skills. Life skills are defined as skills that help an individual to be successful in living a productive and satisfying life, such as thinking, managing, relating, caring, and giving. Through inquiry youth describe an object or movement, and ask questions; they conduct experiments to answer those questions and communicate their discoveries. The scientific thinking and process skills inherent to scientific inquiry can be translated for any age group to any science activity; for example, they could be used in biological sciences, physical sciences, animal science, clothing and textiles, technology and engineering, or food and nutrition.
- Any caring adult can encourage youth to explore. It is simply a matter of sharing with youth the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world in which we live. These feelings are the fertile soil in which the seeds of knowledge can grow. By engaging youth in interactive science experiences, helping them to build on their own knowledge, and encouraging them to apply scientific inquiry skills to everyday life, (adults) will help youth develop into scientifically literate adults.
Excerpts from NNST Science Guidelines for Nonformal Education
Submitted by K. Anderson
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