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Answering Kids’ Tricky Science Questions

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If you’ve been challenged by your kid to answer a tricky science question and didn’t know the answer, don’t worry, you are not alone! A recent study by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) found that 83% of UK mums and dads have been unable to answer questions from their kids about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

They found that, much to the embarrassment of parents of children aged 4-12 , they weren’t able to answer their tricky science questions, with 63% saying that they resorted to telling their curious children white lies rather than admitting to not knowing. Similarly, 61% told that they actually feared being asked difficult questions- that they might answer incorrectly which could be detrimental to their education.

Another finding of the research was that more than one in ten parents dodged simple scientific questions that they don’t feel capable to answer by ‘passing the buck’ to the other parent, telling their child to ‘ask mum’ or ‘ask dad’! 56% of parents asked felt that their child knows more than they do about STEM subjects like engineering and technology.

All across Britain, many parents have shown a reluctance to answering their children’s science questions. This varies across the country, but it was London’s parents that felt the least able, with 93% of parents admitting that their child has asked them a STEM related question that they couldn’t answer. Nottingham however showed a percentage that was much lower than the rest of the population, with only 72% owning up to having uncertainties.

At Minilab, we are keen to address this by helping both children and parents understand some of science’s big questions. One reviewer of Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System, Dads and Design said ‘It turns out I know nothing about the solar system, or at least I didn’t! But I can now confidently explain to my 5 year old why the moon changes shape rather than my old answer-‘because it needs pumping up again’.’ Through educational and fun apps, we can  help shed some light on these mysteries and open up a discussion between parent and child, that benefits them both.

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