Posted on December 27, 2017 at 6:00 am
Anyone who thinks science is boring has never met Radical Rick or seen his Extreme Science video segments on KHQ.com. This winter, kids, grades 4 and up, can discover the forces that create tornadoes, vortexes, and gyroscopes in hands-on experiments when Radical Rick stops by our libraries.
Q: What is it about science experiments that spark interest and excitement in kids?
Radical Rick: I believe that kids love to discover and learn new things. Science experiments help us to understand the world around us in a fun and exciting way. Many science experiments don’t always provide the results that we expect, which in itself is exciting.
I also believe that the best way to spark a child’s interest in science is to allow them to try it themselves through hands-on experiences.
My grandson recently told me about a project from his middle school science class. I thought it was cool that they were learning about how temperatures can affect condensation. When he showed me the results and his answers to the questions presented, I asked what they used to collect the data. I was disappointed to learn that all of the data was provided on the back of the worksheet rather than the students taking the time to actually carry out the experiment. This was a missed opportunity to provide an experience that would spark an interest in learning more about this topic.
Q: How can parents safely incorporate science into the day-to-day lives of their kids?
Radical Rick: By simply asking their children questions. Ask them how they think something works or why something happened the way that it did. Then, be prepared to try it out and let them make a mess if necessary. Messes can be cleaned up, and it is well worth the time. When something breaks, don’t just throw it away. Sit down and take it apart with your child. Help them to understand how things work.
If you need ideas on simple, yet safe experiments, watch any of the weekly videos from the Saturday morning Extreme Science segments. These are designed for parents to do with their children at home using simple items that you can purchase locally or probably already have.
Q: What are your thoughts on science kits found in toy and specialty shops versus experiments using everyday household items?
Radical Rick: They make great gifts. I do like to purchase items such as this to figure out different ways to make the same thing out of every day household items. I believe that they can be a good start in sparking interest in young children, but I also believe that it is critical to challenge children to take it much further than following instructions on a prepared science kit.
Again, before you throw out that old VCR or Swiffer mop, give it to your child and help them to take it apart and learn how it works. Challenge them to use some of the parts (such as the electric pump from your old Swiffer) to build something new (like an electric squirt gun).
Because this is a hands-on, interactive program and for safety reasons, space is limited. You’ll need to register in order to attend the program at any of the following locations.
Extreme Science with Radical Rick: Forces
Saturday, Jan 13, 1–2pm & 3–4pm
Saturday, Jan 20, 2–3pm
Saturday, Jan 27, 11am–12pm
Saturday, Jan 27, 2–3pm
THE LAB AT NORTH SPOKANE
Saturday, Feb 3, 1–2pm & 3–4pm
Saturday, Feb 10, 10:30–11:30am
Saturday, Feb 10, 1–2pm
Saturday, Feb 10, 3–4pm
Saturday, Feb 24, 2–3pm
Saturday, Mar 3, 2–3pm