Gone are the days where a kid should be told to blindly memorise. Memory work does not equip the kid with problem-solving skills. At birth, the human brains are not fully developed, as the child grows, their capacity to remember increases. Thanks to the young brain’s plasticity, a child can learn fast. However, if the knowledge is not used, the brain will lose it with time.
Undoubtedly, there are tons of learning materials to recap science concepts. We could buy it easily from bookstores. Children can also make their own flashcards or draw their own mind maps. These are commonly known ways to increase repetition of knowledge, which helps the brain to remember.
For today, let’s skip the traditional means and think outside the box. Recap of knowledge does not have to take place in the classroom or study room.
For one, Science is a fun subject! It is definitely not limited to classrooms and study rooms. As an example, let’s use the concept of magnetism:
1. While walking around the shopping mall or school compound, pick a random material and ask: Generally, will a magnet be attracted to this?
Learning point: A magnet attracts objects made of magnetic materials
Here is a list of some common material (and where you can find them):
|Magnetic materials||Non-magnetic materials|
|Iron (Irons sold in home appliances stores)|
Steel (stainless steel frying pan)
Nickel (some scissors, zips, and rings contain nickel)
Cobalt (some paint/ batteries contain cobalt)
|Wood (Trees, paper bags)|
Aluminum (Aluminum foil at the BBQ restaurant)
Copper (copper coated lightings or objects)
Gold (ring shop)
Alternatively, for stay home/classroom activities: you could use a magnetism set that has a wide array of magnetic and non-magnetic material.
2. When taking the train, you could have a casual conversation with your child or student on trains.
Ask a lead-in question: How fast do you think the train is travelling at?
Follow up question: Can we make it faster?
Singapore’s SMRT trains have a maximum speed of 80km/h. The trains run on power supply and travels about 45km/h. However, in Japan, Maglev trains can go up to 603 km/h. This is possible due to the use of electromagnets. Electromagnets are able to reduce the friction against the rails, thus increasing speed.
Learning point: Magnets are useful in human lives. Electromagnets are found in maglev trains, doorbells, etc. Magnets are used in refrigerators, electrical motors, compasses, computers and ATM cards.
3. Otherwise, random pop quizzes would appeal to kids too. (Note: please bring candies for reward, if the quiz is classroom based) For example, which is the strongest part of the magnet?
Learning point: The magnetic strength of a magnet is greatest at its poles and weakest at its centre.
For children/students who need to test out the experiment themselves, there are magnetic field apparatus available. Alternatively, they could get their own strong magnets and put it in a pool of paper clips or iron dusting.
And, the list could go on…
At the end of the day, we should be teaching our kids to apply scientific concepts and not recite textbook answers. Applying it to the real world context makes it more fun, relatable and engaging.