When I was in school, my least favorite subject was science. I attribute this to some really (really) bad science teachers. I had the unfortunate experience of being a student of three science teachers who were on the brink of retirement. As an example of how bad things were, my mom told one of these teachers that her daughter didn’t like the class because she didn’t understand it. His answer? “She’s not supposed to.”
When I got to college, I put off taking the required science course until my senior year (I was the only senior amongst a whole group of freshmen!). Finally, finally, thanks to a dynamic Anatomy and Physiology professor, I began to understand all that there is to love about science. I found myself fascinated by the intricacies of the human body as we studied each system and I learned about the necessity of each little cell to do its part for the whole body to function properly.
Needless to say, I do not want my girls to have this same experience. I want them to see science as an opportunity to explore familiar territory (like the human body) in the form of a whole new world (like one of cells and systems).
We had an opportunity to do that when we visited the Field Museum as a family. I am ashamed to say that the rumors I heard about this museum said it was boring. Now that we have experienced it for ourselves, we are looking forward to going again and spending more time there.
From the moment we entered, the kids felt encouraged to take part. A museum employee was standing ready to let the kids hold a replica of one of Sue’s teeth. The employee explained many details about Sue that I would not have known without her help.
The Field Museum has a great place for kids to be kids (i.e. loud and even a little wild) in the Crown Family PlayLab. My personal favorite was the sound room where we could all take a turn beating various types of drums and other percussion instruments from around the world. We let the kids get their fill of the various activities there before eating the lunch we brought with us in the cafeteria.
After lunch, we braved (and in the case of my daughters I do mean “braved”) the Underground Adventure. Here one is “shrunk” down to microscopic size to see all the various creatures, insects and organisms that live underground. The kids had a great time experiencing life from a bug’s perspective.
My favorite part of the whole experience was exposing the girls to science in a way that can only foster and encourage more interest and curiosity.
When I took that science class in college, I couldn’t help but wonder if I might have taken a different path career-wise if I had known how fascinating science could be. When it comes to my girls, I don’t want them to feel like any doors are closed to them as they think about what they want to be when they grow up.
Melanie is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. In the meantime, she’s trying to maintain her sanity in the midst of four fabulous kids. You can read more of her adventures in parenting at her blogs, tales from the crib and reviews from the crib.