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The KickStarter

How to Teach Science to a Preschooler

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Science has gone from pinholes to the Large Hadron Collider. What did not change is how our children learn science. They begin to learn science in the same way we did. But toddlers today skip Youtube adverts and navigate to the next desired video like pros. Do they have to wait until university to learn about the discoveries of humankind?

By and large, we choose the tried and tested way of teaching science to our children. It is a successful and proven method for delivering excellent results. But what if I say there is an inherent problem in this method which is often overlooked. We are teaching science to our children in a way things have unfolded or discovered by humanity. So the true mystery of how our universe has sprung up to life is unravelled only during their adolescent age. This method of reverse chronology might have produced some fine scientists, but what if we can narrate the story in the same order of how things happened.

Conceiving concepts from the grassroots will produce better students, and in the end outstanding scientists.

Our children learn about engines and vehicles running on fossil fuel before they are exposed to the power of our Sun. Think about when you learnt about cars and when the photovoltaic effect was introduced to you. So it is understandable why a whole generation prefers fossil fuel over renewable energy.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We learn about body parts before teaching our children that behind every cell in their body there is chemistry. Without understanding chemical bonding we teach about macronutrients in the food they eat. So they are compelled to memorize stuff not knowing there is a simple way to understand the basics. With strong fundamentals in science, their thought spectrum will be wider. This will produce an exponential increase in the number of scientists thinking in innovative ways.

If we had created more virologists we would have a thousand vaccines lined up for every possible influenza or coronaviruses by now.

So the solution to this problem is a chronological approach to education. I have been experimenting with a different way of teaching science to preschoolers. With strong support from my wife and a happy little volunteer by my side, I started an experimental journey.

I have researched a wide range of topics from Big Bang to Biochemistry and translated them into bedtime stories for my 4-year-old daughter.

The story starts with the Big Bang as the first chapter, introducing each particle as a character like up and down quark as the parents, proton and neutron as their children. The story progresses by talking about the sibling bonding of protons and neutrons. Higgs field is introduced as a huge pit of balls (Higgs Boson) the particles play in.

Proton and Neutron playing in Higgs field — An image from the book “Bedtime Stories for Little Scientists”

Then photons and electrons are introduced as buddies interacting with the nucleons. The concept of how atoms form is introduced by a story about the friendship of Protons, Electrons and Neutrons. By the end of chapter 4, my kid was able to understand what constitutes matter and how our universe had formed. That is astronomy and particle physics for preschoolers.

As the format of these concepts was presented as bedtime stories, my daughter enjoyed it thoroughly and often talked about those characters (elementary particles). This encouraged me to continue to the next event in the evolution of our universe. Formation of stars, planets and other celestial bodies. I finished the first course of my experimental teaching methodology with the formation of the earth. With this, she clearly understood how stars and planets formed out of the interstellar matter which in turn is just a blob of atoms.

After the success of teaching science to my daughter through this chronological approach, I decided to write this as a book so that it will be useful for anyone who wants to try homeschooling or inculcate the interest of science in preschoolers.

Available in 2 volumes with chapters explaining,

  1. Big Bang and elementary particles.
  2. Higgs boson, gluons and photons.
  3. Subatomic particles and formation of an atom.
  4. Formation of stars and planets.
  5. Creation of light by photons.
  6. Learning elements by counting protons, neutrons and electrons.
  7. Chemistry and chemical bonding.
  8. Metals and other chemical compounds.
  9. Formation of molecules (Water).
  10. Photons from the sunlight creating heat.




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Richy Great

Richy Great

Father, Software Architect and a Story teller

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