The Modern Village: Parents as Front-Line Science Educators

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 13, 2012 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Those darn kids and their inquisitive minds! My kids love to go grocery shopping with me, and we always make a bee-line for the Organic produce section when we pick out fruits and vegetables. “Why can’t we get those apples?” and “I want those grapes!” are met with a simple explanation about buying fruit without pesticides or Mommy likes the apples from over here better. And my children, who are still quite young, are usually satisfied with that. But what happens when the questions become more complicated, or when topics about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or Neurogenetics start popping up. Don’t laugh! Considering that the benefits (or not) of Organics and the causes of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have been in the news, it’s only natural that kids will ask questions. And if you’re like me, science classes back in high school and college have faded just enough to make grasping at terminology and theories decidedly futile.

So how do we talk to our kids about current events when they deal with scientific terms we may find troublesome? Popular Millburn pediatrician, Dr. Donald Cotler, M.D., FAAP, will be leading a class about how to be “science literate” in the world today. His class, “Everybody is a Scientist—Science Literacy for 21st Century,” is part of a new series from The Modern Village, run by South Orange parent, Lisa Duggan.  The first New Jersey class, held in Maplewood, will be October 4th, 2012 from 7 pm to 9 pm. Light refreshments will be served.  Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite, and a 10% discount is given to tickets sold in pairs – so bring a partner or friend!

The class is described below:

Modern science literacy is less about what you know than about how you know it.  The essential  attributes — your child’s scientific “habits of mind” and identity as a scientific thinker — cannot be taught effectively in school. Parents must be “front-line, informal science educators.”  Before discussing topics such as GMO foods, nanotechnology, or neurogenetic engineering, we will lay a foundation for achieving and then teaching science literacy including:

• Why bother? What scientific truth is and how we justify relying on it.

• New concepts in cognitive science: how children learn to think; how we really decide.

• What is not science, and how to tell the difference.

The Modern Village
Who
: Parents of Curious Children
What: “Everybody is a Scientist—Science Literacy for 21st Century” with Dr. Donald Cotler
When: Thursday, October 4th, 2012. 7pm-9pm
Where: The offices of umojawa. 515 Valley Street, Maplewood, NJ 07040
Cost: $39 per class. (Discount for tickets purchased in pairs.)

Light refreshments will be served.

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