The importance of science to kids

I noticed that there are many Bahamians who tend to shy away from scientific subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics in high school, and then struggle severely with them in college (when they choose to do science-based majors).

But the question is, why?

Is it because of religious reasoning? Is it because the older generation tend to make science seem hard and that only the intelligent can manage with it? is it just too elusive when taught in schools?

Well, I have my own ideas on how this could be the case:

1. Science and religion don’t really get along too well– Science is based on pure facts that can be measured, justified and experimented on to get the same results while religion is based on faith (believing in things that you cannot perceive nor quantify in the natural realm). As you can see, the two are seemingly contradictory, which makes it difficult for the average Bahamian to accept one or the other, especially since The Bahamas considers itself a ‘Christian nation.’ Many Bahamians feel that exploring a science can ‘test their faith.’

2. Asking questions is taboo– Many black Bahamians (well I find that this occurs throughout the African diaspora) tend to teach their children that questioning authority is wrong, including God. Science, on the other hand, questions everything, even the very existence of God. Again, both are seemingly contradictory.

3. Lack of role models– We are having a serious brain drain problem in which educated Bahamians (especially those that are great in research) are forced to find jobs to support their career goals elsewhere in the world simply because the older Bahamians don’t accept/understand concepts that they were never introduced to. In other words, the older generation is vastly afraid of change and are too complacent to accept any new ideas that might rock their boats for the first few years of its implementation. Thus, many young Bahamians don’t see that strong research component represented. The only scientific fields that are represented are medical (physicians or nurses) and maybe pharmaceuticals

4. The information presented seems hard to understand– science can become very complex the deeper you get into it. If you don’t understand the basics very well, it will be extremely hard to understand more complex topics such as organic chemistry and biochemistry.

There may be a few other reasons that are not listed here (if you have some ideas, please place them in the comment section below). However, the average Bahamian need not be afraid or trepidatious when it comes to science and research because each country needs its own groups of researchers that will help it to succeed. It’s how most first world countries become first world countries. Also, not everything that works for other countries will work for our own, thus we need unorthodox forward-thinking individuals and this is something that must be instilled within our kids from a young age.

Here’s why.

Learning science encourages interest in research

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

One of the things that we have to stop doing to our kids, especially in the black community, is forbidding them from asking questions. We should allow their curiosity to be peaked and try to answer as best as we can. And for those answers that we don’t know, encourage them to do their own research.

This is what science is. Asking questions and conducting research to try to find an answer to those questions. By asking questions, we are allowing our minds to venture off outside of the box. We need this in Bahamian society.

There is also this fallacy that many Christians love to purport which is, “God doesn’t want us to ask Him questions.” This could not be further from the truth. There were so many prophets, Kings and others who asked questions that God actually provides the answer for. In fact, many of them challenged God to prove his power, authority and even His promises of which He obliged (see Gideon, Abraham, Jonah, Moses, Jeremiah, Simon Peter, even Jesus to an extent, just to name a few). There is no excuse for us as human beings to not ask questions.

Learning science encourages critical thinking

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

When you are allowed to ask questions and you then research the answers, you start to relate commonalities between uncommon things and are able to decipher between what is useful and what is pure garbage.

Our Bahamian populace lacks this quality immensely and it is crippling us as a country, on the whole, affecting all areas from politics to education.

I am also quite aware that there are millions of people in first world countries that lack this quality as well. However, the reason why they thrive so well and for so long is because science is encouraged through STEM programs and science fairs/competitions in schools. This encouragement stems from the need to survive centuries of existential crises such as wars, viral/bacterial epidemics, famine, and drought.

The Bahamas, in its entirety, hasn’t had a need to fight in a war since the American War of Independence of 1776 which means that we never really had to fight for survival in that sense. We just depended upon our first world counterparts for answers, protection, and money. We are also at a disadvantage because these countries have millions of people whereas we only have around 400,000 citizens. But this is exactly where we can shine.

Learning science should not disrupt religious beliefs

Photo by Chris Dixon on Unsplash

In fact, it should magnify it. I do identify myself as a Christ lover (as you can tell by the slightly biased imagery and tone of this article haha) and through science, I’ve come to understand the beauty and complexity of the world that He created. Do you know that with all the knowledge that we have today, it only just scratches the surface?

There is just wayyyyy too many things that science can’t answer yet and it will take some thousands of years before it is able to access the meat of how our world/universe works. Thousands. That in and of itself is amazing.

Now, there are a lot of scientists who lose their faith in religion because they become too logical; they are constantly looking for answers and proof of their answers. And truth be told, a lot of these answers cannot be easily found in religion as it is a personal and spiritual relationship with an unseen being (in most cases). But if you really believe that there is a divine being then you should not feel threatened in any way as you start to learn and explore more about the world.

I can’t speak for any other religion, but in Christianity, the Bible teaches us to seek knowledge first from our heavenly creator by reading the bible. He also wants us to understand the world around us because we are living in it for a short time. God also wants us to ask for wisdom and He will freely give it to us. Contrary to popular belief, God doesn’t withhold anything from us. He just waits for the best time to reveal it.

Science is a necessity. Not an option.

It’s how surgeons learn how to operate on you precisely. Its how pharmaceutical companies create medication to heal (or at least ease) some of the most terrible illnesses. It’s how we can use the very device that you are using to read this article right now. Its how we are able to consume the foods we like year-round. Its how we are able to drink the drinks we like and also have the ability to taste other types of distilled water. It’s how we are able to travel via car, boats, planes, and trains on a day to day basis. Its how we build our homes, offices and other structures. It’s how we understand music.

Science is all around us. It’s time for us Bahamians to take it seriously.

Chemistry Study Tips

Chemistry is one of those subjects that you simply cannot absorb by reading.

You must apply the principles by practicing equations and relating everything you’ve learned to something you encounter every day.

I think a lot of us have issues understanding science topics, especially chemistry because we can’t see it in our every day lives. So to help you out, I’ve devised several ways in which you can start to prepare for chemistry

1. Understand that chemistry happens all around us

The hardest thing to do when you begin studying chemistry is to apply theory to practice. If you can just begin to understand that everything that happens around you is some kind of chemical reaction, then you are able to proceed.

For example, I want you to imagine that you are sitting in your favorite restaurant waiting for your food to arrive. You see and smell so many different aromas within the restaurant that your body produces chemicals to

  1. identify the different smells (every fragrance is a chemical that your body perceives)
  2. identify the different foods by sight
  3. fill the brain so that it can prepare the body for the meal

Now, I want you to imagine that the waiter finally brings your food and note how you feel when you see the waiter arrive and when you take the first bite. You now have chemicals that

  1. fills your brain and causes you to feel happy
  2. fills your mouth with saliva, which also have chemicals to break down the food
  3. fills your taste buds and then send those same chemical messages to the brain so that you are able to taste the food
  4. breaks down food while it is in the stomach

So on, and so forth.

and this is just a small tidbit. Try to think of other scenarios which require chemical reactions (leave them in the comments below).

2. Understand that theories in chemistry are applicable and not invisible

After you understand that chemical reactions happen all around us every day, always remember that scientific theories are not always abstract, invisible, nor hypothetical.

For example, the atomic theory states that matter is comprised of tiny units called atoms. In the earlier years, the atom was just a philosophical concept because it was invisible to the naked eye. However, in the 20th century, the atom’s existence was proven and even smaller units of the atom could have actually been seen because of electromagnetism and radioactivity.

These smaller units were called protons, neutrons and electrons and the interaction of these smaller units is the basis of what helps us to understand different chemical reactions.

This means that scientific theories are not guesses: they are based upon factual evidence. They are only called theories because there are still some missing pieces of the puzzle that scientists have yet to uncover (God made this world quite complex).

3. Understand that chemistry has patterns

Let’s say you are studying the periodic table of elements and its trends across and down the table.

Assuming that you already understand the basics of the periodic table (if not, please leave me a comment below and I will explain), I will show you how it has a pattern.

For example, the atomic radius (which is the total distance from one end of the atom’s electron shell to another) increases as you go down the periodic table (this makes it very easy for them to give away electrons) but decreases as you go from left to right (thus more difficult to take away electrons).

Why? because as you add protons to the nucleus going across the table from left to right, the more the nucleus squeezes in itself and thus, making the entire atom smaller and the attraction of the electrons to the nucleus stronger.

And based upon these facts, it means that the ionization energy (the amount of energy needed to remove an electron) and electronegativity (the ability to gain electrons) increase going from left to right and decrease going from top to bottom.

Phew. I didn’t mean to give you a chemistry lesson but this is just to give you an idea of how to break things down and see some patterns.

4. Relate your topic to something that you see every day and actually understand.

Using the same atomic radius example above, take a picture of an atom and relate it to something you recognize, like an onion.

An onion has a lot of outer layers. The bigger the onion, the more layers it has and the longer it takes to reach to its core. It’s also very easy to peel off its top layers but the inner layers takes some work. This is easily compared to the atom. The top layer/valence shell of the electrons is the most reactive. Because the inner layers are closer to the nucleus, then its harder for them to be removed.

5. Always use visual demonstrations

This may include finding interesting videos on youtube, like this one, that has a lot of visual representation, animation, and clear and precise explanations.

You can also try free websites like Khan Academy or any of these free online courses to help you with any clarifications.

Of course, if you need one-on-one help, I am available through skype sessions (if you live outside of Nassau, Bahamas).

6. Repeat after me: Cramming is WRONG!

You cannot, and I repeat, CANNOT study for a chemistry test the night of…or even the week of. you will fail. Trust me.

The only way to completely understand chemistry is to ensure that you are looking at your notes and applying them, ideally, after every lesson.

If you don’t have the time, then pay special attention to your homework. Ask questions about it when you don’t understand. Don’t just hand in crappy work to pass and ignore it. Take your time to ensure you understand what you are talking about.

Once you understand these concepts, you will be a chem whiz in no time!

Happy studying! 🙂

 

 

Toddler educational Toys: A M SANMERSEN Piano Mat Review

Disclaimer, this page may contain affiliate links in which I may receive commission. However, this review will not be focusing on selling this product because I endeavor to give you the most accurate and honest review possible.

 

Name of product: M Sanmersen Piano mat

Age: 12 months and up

Dimensions: 39.37 x 14.2 inches

Weight: 8 ounces

Price Range: $18.98

Description of Product

The M Sanmersen Piano mat is a foldable musical dance mat that is a great educational toy for toddlers because of its various functions and versatility.

It consists of 8 piano keys with each key having piano sound, color, and with a touch of the switch button on the mat, different songs are played on each key. The mat also has pictures of animals and once pressed, each animal produces a sound. Additionally, when any part of the mat is pressed, the lights surrounding the speaker is illuminated.

Children are able to press on the mat using both hands and feet and it is safe for babies because it made from soft, non woven fabric that is tasteless and non-toxic.

Lastly, the mat requires 3 double AA batteries that are not included with the package. However, it shuts off after 2 minutes of idle use.

Is this the ideal educational toy for toddlers?

The mat is bright and colorful and noisy, making it ideal for children between 1 and 5 as it stimulates most of their senses. The bright colors and flashing lights appeal to their sight; the music that is played through the mat appeals to their hearing and the need to touch/dance/hit the mat appeal to their tactile needs.

The mat also encourages sensory-motor activity because when the child learns that sound is produced once parts of the mats are touched, then they are encouraged to move more. This also stimulates their logical abilities because of the same previous reason.

However, there are some qualms that I have gathered from this mat.

Firstly, there is a note underneath the product on amazon which states that they would advise parents to place the mat on carpet or ceramic tiles and place non-slip socks on the kids (such as those located on the left). They also warn parents to not allow babies and toddlers on the mat without supervision so that the children can avoid falling on the mat. The latter goes without saying: you can’t leave babies and toddlers unattended for a second. However, it worries me that the mat can be slippery by itself.

There may be those who do not have carpets (for allergy reasons) nor ceramic tiles in their homes so how can they prevent slippage? The non-slip socks are not going to suffice by themselves as the entire mat can move. It would be nice if the creators added something to the bottom of the mat that gripped onto whatever floors it was on to minimize movement and slippage. I do believe that the reason why the mat is slippery is because the material used is to make clean-ups easier, among other things. Which is fine, but something underneath the mat to grip the floors would be ideal.

Secondly, I would have liked to see more functionality with the mat in terms of voice. There are 8 numbers and colors on the mat located on each piano key but they don’t really receive recognition as the children are more interested in pressing the keys and hearing the sounds that come out of them.

I would have liked to hear a voice that noted each color, number and the names of each animal upon pressing the “switch” key at the end of the piano. That way, they are learning about everything on the piano, rather than just listening to the sounds. Otherwise, the colors and numbers are just decoration for toddlers who haven’t learned their colors or numbers as yet.

This also puts pressure on the parent/s to teach the child the colors and numbers that are located on the mat, and Let’s face it, most children don’t really listen to parents when they speak.

Lastly, if you thought that this product was an introduction to piano, you better think again! It does introduce the child to piano sounds but the child is unable to really relate the sound to anything because the mat doesn’t teach how the sound matches with a color and/or number (as per my previous point). Again, that voice that indicated, “1-red, 2-orange, 3-green” etc, for example, would have helped the child match a piano sound to a particular color on the mat.

Additionally, the colors of the keys should have been in sequential order, using all 7 colors of the rainbow (or any seven colors for that matter). This is to match the sound of each key on the piano to each color of the rainbow because the piano has 7 main keys (C-D-E-F-G-A-B). After the 7th key, the cycle of letters starts with C again and continues. This mat should have ensured to represent this same pattern using the colors. For example, the first key would be red-then orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet. After Violet, the next color would indicate the start of the cycle again to red (if this doesn’t make any sense, leave a comment and I will explain this in more detail). The mat does not do this.

Pros

  1. It is a multi-sensory mat that stimulates sight, touch, and sound through its flashing lights, tactile functions, and music.
  2. It promotes movement of crawling, hitting, dancing and the like.
  3. its foldable, small and lightweight so it’s easy to put away
  4. The material is non-toxic and tasteless which makes it safe for a baby to use.
  5. There is an instant standby mode that kicks in after 2 minutes to conserve battery.
  6. Children are exposed to different sounds and music

Cons

  1. The mat is slippery by itself so there needs to be careful consideration into where to place the mat
  2. There isn’t enough functionality with the toy: the child hears animal and piano sounds but is unable to relate them to the pictures and colors that are located on the mat.
  3. Not ideal for teaching or introducing a child to piano
  4. Not ideal for learning numbers and colors or songs (as the songs played don’t have lyrics). The makers of the mat leave the job to parents, siblings and anyone else who can teach the child what everything means.

So is this a winner?!

Not necessarily. It is a great toy for its engagement with the child because of its bright colors, flashing lights, and sounds, however, it lacks the educational tools needed to push this product into a realm of efficiency at a quality price. This could have been such a great educational toy if not for its setbacks because, without them, it’s just a toy.

None-the-less, the M Samnerson Piano mat is a great Christmas gift for any toddler which should distract them for quite some time. So if that is your aim, go ahead and check it out!

==>Click Here to view the M Samnerson Piano Mat<==

Raising positive Kids in a Negative world: Brian Tracy Self-Help program review

Here at Tyra’s Tutoring, we pride ourselves in ensuring that our students are well-rounded both at home and within their academics. This means that parents play an integral role in their child’s education. Seeing that I am not yet a mother myself, I decided to turn to some of the best sources of information regarding tips on parenting, one of them coming from the world-renown Brian Tracy. So if you have ever questioned whether you are raising your child in the right way or would love some tips on how to do so, continue reading on.

 

Disclaimer: some of the links that are on this page may allow me to receive some sort of compensation. But no worries, I endeavor to remain as transparent and honest as possible during this review.

 

Name: How To Raise Happy, Healthy, Self Confident Children


350x250 Raise Happy, Healthy, Self-Confident Children

Subjects taught: 4 Behaviors of effective parenting, how to raise responsible children, how to communicate with your children on a deeper level, how to help your child achieve higher grades in school, how to help your child stay drug-free, how to manage your time so that your family comes first and how to raise healthy kids.

Products: Included in this package is a 6-CD set that totals 6 hours of instruction and an audio program on time management

Price Range: $97.00 for the physical 6-CD training set and $77 for the digital downloadable training kit

To give you a better idea of the product produced, I will explain the entrepreneur and the pioneer behind this program.

Who is Brian Tracy?

He is a Canadian-American speaker and the Chairman of Brian Tracy International, a company that was founded in 1984 Vancouver Canada that specializes in personal and business training. For the past 30+ years, he has studied, researched, written and spoken on various aspects within economics, history, philosophy, psychology, and business, making him a guru in this particular field of self-help. Additionally, he has a university, also called Brian Tracey International, located in San Diego California of which is another avenue that his knowledge can be transferred.

To talk about how he got to where he is today, it’s important to understand his past. He grew up watching his parents struggle to make ends meet and hearing them complain that they don’t have enough money. This eventually fueled his curiosity as to why other families were able to live at a better quality of life while he was struggling, which has led to the belief that “people become what they think most of the time.” Also, a series of unfortunate circumstances (including a near-death experience in the Sahara desert) had led to a complete life transformation for him, hence his great success.

Based upon his past, this should lead you to a better determination of whether the product is good for you if it resonates with you, especially since he was not raised in a middle class or wealthy environment.

What are some of the products and services?

There are about 64 products available with the ability to be privately coached by Brian, see him speak at a seminar or learn how to be a coach in one of Brian’s seminars (all are separate prices).

The products can be further subdivided into 7 categories: Personal development, sales training, business training, Time management, Leadership training, Book Writing, and Public Speaking.

But for this particular article, we will be focusing on the “How to Raise Happy, Healthy, Self-Confident Children” program.

How to Raise Happy, Healthy, Self-Confident Children review

This program is boasted as a sort of instruction manual on how to rear kids in the right way and it has garnered many positive reviews. The reason being is that Brian places a lot of his personal grievances with raising his own children and how he effectively managed them. He also has included an individual with a Ph.D. in education (who was also a parent as well) to further cement his claims. To me, this is important because you cannot give parenting advice unless you are:

a). A parent yourself and have actually tried your own methods (and they worked)

b). A parent who has researched extensively in this area or

c). A parent who has extensively researched child developmental stages and effectively used their knowledge to implement proper strategies with their own children (the main reason why I have personally refrained from trying to give advice myself)

Brian also identifies the importance of raising children to gradually assume responsibility. He states that when a child is born, they have 0% of the responsibilities. However, as they get older, the percentage will increase to maybe 5% and then 10% for example. Eventually, the goal is that by 18 years of age, the child is willing and able to assume 100% responsibility for their own lives. This activity also leads them to become more confident individuals.

Pros

There are several advantages to using this program:

  1. The program is set where you can learn at your own pace, in your own time and in any space.
  2. You have various options for learning each lesson; The CDs are great for popping in your car while driving or your laptop (if you still have a DVD/CD drive in your laptop) or you can take a much easier route and just purchase the digital downloadable version and download it to your phone/mp3 device to listen during a flight for example.
  3. You can purchase a used CD training set from amazon for just about $20 (however, I wouldn’t recommend because CDs tend to scratch easily, making them unreadable. This is to give you another option if you can’t afford the program off of Brian’s website).
  4. It’s a one time buy so you can reference these programs at any time for years

Cons

  1. There is no true hard and fast rule when it comes to parenting because there are no two individuals who are alike and were raised in the exact same circumstances (this is true even for your own family of siblings; no two siblings are raised exactly alike….or at least they shouldn’t be). So the fact that they advertise their product to be an instruction manual is not exactly true because instruction manuals give detailed descriptions of a product and also some troubleshooting methods in case the product has a malfunction. They should really advertise their program to be a foundational guideline of sorts that are adjustable to personal circumstances.
  2. The book is pretty old (its latest publishing is dated back to 2002) so some of the issues that exist in parenting today, such as the use of technology, for example, may not be addressed, thus deeming some of it useful.
  3. If purchasing the physical CDs, they are more expensive and they do not have longevity; they scratch easily causing the content on the CD to become unreadable by a computer or other CD/DVD reading device. In fact, the use of CDs are now becoming obsolete.

So should you buy?

Even though there is no hard or fast rule when it comes to parenting a child, Brian does leave disclaimers at the bottom of his product page, warning potential customers that:

1). The results of the program will vary based upon circumstances, time commitments, and how much of the program’s lessons that you decide to use with your children and

2). That some of the testimonials listed on the product page may discuss above average results but BrianTracy.com does not promise similar results.

I like these clauses because they prove their transparency of their product. Additionally, Brian Tracy’s transparency with how he raised his children during the training course should also give you an idea of how effective it may be. There may be a need to make necessary adjustments to suit the program to the current decade but the principles remain the same.

Additionally, if you feel as though you rather test-drive his ideology first, Brian also has a blog and a YouTube page that freely gives information on this same topic of parenting as well as many, many others.

So why not go ahead and try him out today! Click here to see more about the product

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