As many people in our country have, I have become increasingly concerned with the state of science and mathematics in our educational system, as well as the stigma attached to those who enjoy those subjects. As a result I find myself convinced of the need to inculcate a healthy love for math and science amongst my own children. My wife and I are often on the lookout for good educational games, museums, and opportunities to help our kids in that regard. Additionally, although I surmise that my kids probably don't fully understand my responses, I try to answer their questions as carefully, accurately, and as simply as possible as they relate to the world around us.
Recently, we stumbled across the Hands-On Museum in Ann Arbor, MI. It had been recommended to us by several and we decided to give it a try. In short, it was brilliant! It had many exhibits, each touching on various aspects of "how things work." It had a half-built house showing framing structure, plumbing, heating and air conditioning. It had a biology section showing bone structure, as well as fun cardiovascular and strength exhibits. It had a full-size ambulance available for examination. It had exhibits on sound waves, an optics and light room, a forces and torques section, a pullies exhibit, an automobile section, electricity, and so on. We liked it so much, in fact, that we bought a season pass. Ultimately I'm not sure who liked it more - me or the kids!!
I think it's vitally important to create a sense of wonder and awe for science and nature. There is so much to learn, so many puzzles yet to solve, and so many amazing phenomena, it's hard for me to imagine why anyone wouldn't be interested! So my question, readers, is how do you create this sense of wonderment in your children? Do you have similar museums where you live? Do you spend time with your children talking about nature and how things work?