• Question: do you think it is nessarserry for children to learn about science in school , if so why ?

    Asked by emilyscott to Alastair, Emma, Hywel, Keith, Vicki on 15 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Hywel Vaughan

      Hywel Vaughan answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      Hi Emily,
      I do indeed think that it’s necessary, and for me the reasons are pretty straightforward. Science isn’t just one thing – there is no way that in school lessons you could be taught everything about science, simply because science is HUGE. There is an enormous range of topics covered by the heading of ‘science’, and there is no set way that children could learn about it all.

      So why bother?

      The answer is because without trying something, you never know how you feel about it. Like food, sometimes you need to try it before you dismiss it. In most cases you have experienced a whole range of science before you have even stepped into school, but never even realised it. I think that children should study science in school because it is in those lessons that you realise just a few of the many applications that science has, and hopefully you like the taste!
      I learnt about science in school, and I am still learning. Life is all about trying new things, so why not keep learning?

    • Photo: Emma Carter

      Emma Carter answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      Yes of course. Science is just about understanding how the physical world works and since we all live in the physical world – that’s quite useful. Science doesn’t have all the answers, but it gives us a way of testing theories and ideas, and coming up with solutions to a lot of problems.

    • Photo: Vicki Stevenson

      Vicki Stevenson answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      I think that science affects our lives in so man ways, that it’s very useful to understand some science. There are many ethical questions about some aspects of science – these can only really be decided by the public (e.g. how far should we go with cloning, stem cell research, genetically modified crops?)
      It helps people to make these decisions if they have some understanding of science, even if they’re not intending to use science themselves.

    • Photo: Alastair Sloan

      Alastair Sloan answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      I do think its necessary for children to learn about science in school so that they can understand what is going on around them. It also lets them have a say in what science does (such as should we use stem cells to treat some diseases). As science is all around us its good to be involved with it. The best question children can ask is “why” – and I have two boys who ask that constantly

    • Photo: Keith Brain

      Keith Brain answered on 15 Jun 2010:


      Firstly, we live in a very technology driven society, and this technology has developed through the application of scientific theories and ideas. If you want to be in control, rather be controlled, in this world, I think that its worth knowing how it works.

      Secondly, and more importantly, scientific methods are very important for critically assessing the many claims and ideas that are prevalent in this world. There are a lot of people with strange idea, and I think its worth having some tools at your disposal for testing those ideas for yourself.

      Thirdly, I think that its important to have a basic idea about how science works so that you can understand scientists (its nice to be able to talk the same language). This is important because lots of scientific results or ideas provide information that can be used by society to make better decision – but the scientists should not be the ones making the decisions! For example, modern (20th century) Physics allows us to generate nuclear power, but at the cost of the odd Chernobyl-like leak of radioactivity. Scientists have no special right to make the decision about the use of nuclear reactors, but can provide information that might help others make informed decisions. Its important to be able to understand that information in order to run the society!

      Fourthly, while its not “necessary”, I think that science is truly and deeply fun and wonderful. I have a 7 year old and a 4 year old, and it is a great joy to encourage them to think about how things work and test their ideas, even with very simple things; they like it too, in the right dose 😉 As we get older, the questions are more sophisticated, but there is always more to find out and more being discovered every day. Its a dynamic set of fields which I get excited about exploring. Perhaps some of you will be similarly excited to!