So much of humanity’s advancements can be attributed to science. Medications, medical research, modern technology are just a few of the incredible contributions scientists have made to the world over history. Every day, we use things that some of the brightest minds are responsible for creating. National Science Week gives us an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the amazing world of SCIENCE.
More than meets the eye
This is this a perfect way to consider thinking about science. Nothing is ever cut and dry or black and white in science. That being said, “more than meets the eye” is critical when thinking about new discoveries and the trial and error that is scientific research. Fittingly, the theme for National Science Week 20232 is Glass: more than meets the eye. This year, the theme of glass is available for science enthusiasts to consider the many roles that glass plays in our lives. From glass used in everyday technology, like cell phone screens, windows that insulate our homes, to drinkware and test tubes, glass is a pervasive component to our lives. Just looking around my home, I am struck by how much of what surrounds me is made from glass!
National Science Week
National Science Week is generally observed mid August, but I wanted to circle back to it despite it being September. Since I headed back to school, I have found myself (a library media specialist) teaching 8th grade science. Ahem, the teacher shortage is real ya’ll. I have been immersed in all things science in a way I typically am not. We started the year out by making some scientific generalizations and considering basic observations. We’ll be moving on soon to investigative research and then into weather and climate. So, I have science on the brain!
The observance of National Science Week was initiated by the Australian government. The event was organized to celebrate the critical impact that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) have made on the world. Australia, in particular, wanted to spotlight their country’s notable scientists as well. The celebration has grown to include other countries such as Britain, India and Ireland to name a few!
Questions and answers
It is undeniable that science is responsible for answering many of the questions in life that humanity has posed. There are many, many branches of the sciences out there and they have been in practice for centuries, tracing as far back as Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The year 1500 A.D. heralded in the Scientific Revolution. It was during this time that several of the most notable scientific minds made their first and most major discoveries. Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei, also known as the ‘father of modern science’ made significant scientific advances. It was during the early part of the 19th century when science became a recognized and reputable profession and people were officially referred to as ‘scientists’. Considering that centuries later, there are over 8 million recognized scientists, these trailblazers were responsible for opening the doors wide for all of those to come.
How to observe National Science Week
The internet is rife with ideas to celebrate National Science Week. Depending on the age of your children and your students, you may find yourself considering several options for recognizing National Science Week. I recommend checking out sources that allow teachers to upload content or looking through sites that offer step by step activities for families and classrooms to partake in.
Some other great ideas include:
- Plan a Science Center visit. In Baltimore, we have the amazing Maryland Science Center downtown in our Inner Harbor. There are interesting and engaging exhibits, interactive displays for all ages. The Science Center is a great place to expose your whole family or school group in all things science. You can do this during National Science Week or anytime as it is open all year.
- Attend a science event. Review the calendar for the Science Center, or investigate other facilities/ organizations that might be hosting science and STEM related activities. Baltimore is a large city with so much to do!
- Conduct a fun experiment. Every one of us has a little bit of scientist in us. Maybe we want to know more and the why about people, animals or some other type of research. Innovation, especially when it is something that we use to make our lives easier, is an amazing opportunity to learn and grow. What experiment can you and your family think up this National Science Week?
Why science matters
It seems like this might be a simple question. And perhaps it could be. Vignesh Gowrishankar, scientist for the NRDC, the National Resources Defense Council states that, “Science is curiosity in action!” Sometimes, I think about science as something very clinical and sterile and forget the joy and wonder of discovery at the root of it. Science is also at the core of protecting our planet and saving lives. All of these major endeavors can be linked to scientific advancements of scientists.
In addition to Gowrishankar, other NRDC scientists offer this incredible answer to, “What is science and why does science matter?” Considering why science matters is critical to the continued research of scientists of how to improve humanity and the planet on which we live. Take the question above and pose it to your students and children. What are their responses? How have they been affected by science and scientific discoveries? Think about the medications that we take, the technology we use in our homes. All the things that make our lives easier, safer and more efficient we have science to thank!
What can you do at home?
During National Science Week or any time, we have some resources for your families and students to partake in. Everything from nature walks, experiments, and other observations you can find here. What will your family choose? Let us know in the comments!
- Weekly weather chart– Start off by tracking the weather each week for a month and make some comparisons. I love doing this experiment and holding onto the results until the following season and doing a contrast and compare exercise!
- Monthly weather tracker– Broaden your experiment with this study of a month’s worth of weather.
- Weather sorter game– Use this game to consider the different types of weather and engage your memory skills.
- Five senses nature walk– Take a walk in nature (you can choose any environment- the beach, woods, your neighborhood) and document what you experience with your own senses.
- Nature walk tracker– Use this guide to list interesting things that you encounter on your nature walk!
- Seasonal sense trackers– These seasonal sense guides will help you to observe what differences you experience in outdoor environments and the differences that are felt between differing seasons such as: Summer and Winter.
- Scavenger hunts– Go on a guided hunt for specific seasonal objects with these Summer and Spring scavenger hunt guides.
- Experiment! Be a burgeoning scientist and try these fun experiments using Candy Canes, this one on exploring the body temperature of Polar Bears and lastly this one on examining Salt & Snow.
Whatever you and your little scientists decide to do this National Science Week, let us know in the comments. Did you get outdoors to explore nature? Did you try to stay cool in the last of the summer heat and conduct the polar bear experiment? We’d love to hear from you!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.