Jordan Bell

Jordan Bell

I’m really thrilled to introduce our Writer of the Week today, such an important topic for me as woman with three daughters! Get a cup of tea and a biscuit because this post is packed full of information and ideas! Welcome to Jordan Bell…

I write to foster a love of science in primary-school aged girls

Science is the most powerful and flexible method of understanding the universe that we’ve yet discovered as a species – it helps us answer questions about the nature of reality. Young girls are natural scientists – endlessly curious! They want to explore their world, and learn the what, the how, and the why of the things around them. Unfortunately, the messages they get from the world can sometimes suggest that science is “not for girls” and so they lose interest. One of the reasons I wrote Aunt Jodie’s Guide to Evolution was to help girls (and boys!) learn that women can be amazing scientists.

If you’d like to prompt a love of science in your daughter, or foster an interest she’s already showing, there are so many ways to support her to discover the methods and facts that let her understand how everything works. As a nerdy mum who has always wanted to share my love of science with my daughter, here’s some things we’ve done together that have shown her how cool science can be.

1 – Do real-life science at home with your daughter

Set up an experiment with her, and ask her to predict what will happen before you begin. Then compare the outcomes you actually achieve with the predictions she made. Your local library is likely to have a book which outlines easy science experiments you can do at home. If not, Googling “science experiments for kids” will get you more results that you will ever be able to complete together!

Great scientific experiments I’ve done with my daughter in our kitchen or backyard, using at-home ingredients (and wearing safety glasses!):

·         Make pH indicator from red cabbage: https://www.sciencekiddo.com/red-cabbage-ph-indicator/ (with bonus explanations about boiling and freezing water, if you want to draw them out), and use it to test the pH of various household liquids.

·         Make Oobleck, a non-Newtonian fluid that sometimes acts like a liquid and sometimes like a solid: https://www.instructables.com/id/Oobleck/ Do it outside, it’s messy, but great fun!

·         Make a parachute for a small toy: https://mommypoppins.com/weework-kids-crafts-make-a-toy-parachute – ours always ends up stuck in a tree on the last throw.

2 – Read books together which explain scientific concepts and methods, or biographies of scientists.

Books which communicate ideas about science in kid-friendly language are great tools for sparking your daughter’s interest in chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, or palaeontology. My daughter and I love reading together about the wonderful world of science.

3 – The language you use when you talk to your daughter really matters

Evidence from scientific research suggests that some parents are more likely to believe that science is more difficult and less interesting for girls. Not only that, but when researchers analyzed father-child conversations, they found that fathers used more complex and cognitively demanding language when working on a science project with their sons, than with their daughters[1]. After enough exposure to these differences, our daughters can begin to believe the stereotypes themselves and give up on science. But research also comes to our aid by demonstrating that presenting girls with “stereotype-defying” examples of women achieving in the sciences, both real and fictional, can free girls to follow their own interests and perform better in non-stereotypical fields[2]. Likewise, teaching your daughter to view effort and persistence as the key to success (also known as a “growth mindset”), rather than viewing scientific skills as purely innate and unchanging, will also help her defy stereotypes on her own as she grows.

Some information about me and my books

I am an author, a psychologist and educator, with a passion for helping children and parents learn about science. As a nerdy mama to a curious primary-schooler, who always wants to understand the “why?” of life, I have had lots of experience in putting complicated ideas into words that little brains can understand.

My first book, Aunt Jodie’s Guide to Evolution, gives kids a fun and fascinating understanding of the key concepts underlying the theory of evolution, using real science. Perfect for parents who want to inspire a love of science in children aged 7-11yrs, start a child’s science education early, or who want female role models in science for their kids.

Not just another boring bedtime story, this science adventure into the ancient past makes learning about the basics of evolution fun and engaging, and uses words and concepts that are right for kids in middle and upper primary school. For anyone new to science, Aunt Jodie’s Guides also include an easy-to-read glossary, explaining the scientific terms used in the book and how to pronounce them.

I am currently working on a follow-up book, Aunt Jodie’s Guide to Climate Change, which will introduce the science of atmospheric chemistry, fossil fuels and the impacts on human, animal and plant life of this important topic, in a way that kids can grasp. It seems like a very important piece of science to be sharing with the next generations, at the moment!

You can buy Aunt Jodie’s Guide to Evolution at www.gumroad.com/jordanbell

Follow me on Facebook for more information: www.facebook.com/AuntJodiesGuides

I’m on Twitter at @AuntJodiesGuide

And my website is www.auntjodiesguide.com

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