The pace of technological advancements has accelerated in recent years,
and there is no sign that they will slow. If anything, we can expect that
today’s elementary school children will have increased involvement with
technology as they advance through school and head into the workforce.
The range of machinery outside of school is significantly greater than
that inside. Therefore, it is parents whose facility with technology will
pave the way for their children’s comfort in this arena.
What can you do?
* Point out and explain the machines that you use in your family’s life.
There is bound to be a tremendous variety: telephone, computer, car, television,
VCR, thermostat, clock, and radio are just a few.
* Let them explore machines. If you have a broken appliance, hand it over
to the kids, along with an assortment of screwdrivers and other tools.
Giving them an opportunity to take apart and experiment with the variety
of pieces in your household appliances will help them to make an approach
in much the way scientists begin their own experiments.
* A wonderful book that kids of all ages, as well as parents, enjoy is
David Macaulay’s The New Way Things Work (a 1998 revision of his
earlier work). He has also written and illustrated a dazzling array of
books that give behind-the-scenes peeks at the construction of many objects
(titles include Cathedral, Castle, Mill, Pyramid, Ship, City, and Underground).
Each tome contains narratives, diagrams, cut-aways, and explanation of
the building process.
* You can share the same understanding in person with your child as you
take the time together to examine the construction of a new home in your
neighborhood or of a building project in your own home.
An important concept that your child can learn is that construction must
be accomplished in a pre-defined number of steps. Each step builds on a
It is the hands-on work that gets children fired-up about science and technology.
Give them a chance to find out, “How does this work?,” “What’s under this?,”
and wonder, “What would happen if....”
column has been incorporated into Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher’s
Advice for Parents.