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For the Love of Science

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Live & Learn

By: Daniel Ezell   |  February 1, 2024

Children love to learn. As natural scientists, they experiment on the world around them to build a mental model that helps them develop realistic expectations.


One of the first discoveries is object permanence, the understanding that an object still exists even when it’s out of sight. Infants often test object permanence from the high chair with their peas or pasta, and every parent knows not to feed them over the rug, anticipating this early and messy scientific experiment. The more chance a child gets to try things out, the more accurate their mental model of the way the world works.


Since I’ve been my kids’ science teacher, I’ve had the privilege of observing many of their experiments and leading many too!  We interviewed our three children about which early science lessons they remember. Violet (age 6) remembers walking down the bike trail last year laying pom poms on the path to model to scale the vast distance between planets in our solar system. Patrick (age 13) remembers a lesson on the acidity of pure water (PH 7) illustrated with Mickey Mouse shaped molecules chasing each other around trying to bite each other’s ears off. Jocelyn (age 16) remembers building a model bridge out of straws and rubber bands at age 4 and then testing its weight with a stack of books. Years later, they still remember because the experience made it memorable.


But what of the microscopic, like germ theory, or the macroscopic, like the cosmic microwave radiation background? Is it worth telling our little ones that our best knowledge of the universe is now statistical instead of observable? What would happen if a generation of future scientists trusted their senses only as far as they go, relying on augmented senses like thermometers, telescopes and really hot furnaces, only as far as they can go, while understanding that the properties of the many particles throughout the room is literally only measurable in part. Thanks, Heisenberg. I guess the question is, “How hard is it to teach quantum physics to a three-year-old?” Harder than teaching about quantum physicists. That’s where you start.


Kids (and adults) love a good narrative, and a story about a scientist is worth a thousand science lessons because the story sticks, sometimes for life. Perhaps your little one isn’t ready to learn the distribution law of kinetic gasses, but they can certainly learn about the wonderful man James Clerk Maxwell. And the story of his disciple Ludwig Boltzmann is just as compelling.


Our kids recounted their favorite scientist personalities as well. Archimedes was commissioned to determine if a tribute gold crown was pure or an alloy. He discovered how to measure volume with water displacement while in the bath then ran through the streets naked shouting “eureka,” which is Greek for I have found it!  Henry Cavendish wanted to know the force of gravity so he hung a couple of giant pendulums in a specially made shed to attract gravity without being disturbed by air or electric charge. Violet remembers that he was so shy that he built himself a private stairwell in his house so he would not cross paths with his servants.  Tycho Brahe, who was the first to accurately record a supernova, lost his nose in a duel, and then his drunk moose fell down the stairs and he eventually died because his bladder burst at a dinner party.


Realistically, young children aren’t going to grasp the mind-blowing theoretical concepts yet, but we can set them up for success. Children develop 50% of their intellectual potential by age 4 and 80% by age 6. As they develop their intellect, we want kids to value as many fields of skill as possible so they can grow up fully educated. As they learn the stories of the scientists, they are inspired to join them in making hypotheses, experimenting and discovering for themselves.





Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants

KidsTV123, especially The Planets song

Emily’s Wonder Lab, Netflix

Blippi’s Cool Science Experiments

Sid the Science Kid, PBS



Story of Science, 3 volumes

Horrible Science series

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Science

Baby University Board Book Set: A Science for Toddlers


Field trips

Lawrence Hall of Science


California Academy of Sciences

Bay Area Discovery Museum


Daniel & Celeste Ezell are parents to three children who attend or have graduated from their boutique TK-8 school for gifted children. They founded Chronos Academy integrating all subjects to a timeline with creativity, music & making. You can reach Celeste by email at, follow them at @chronoscohorts or learn more at 
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For the Love of Science Read >> 

Keeping the Flame Alive Read >> 

The Gift of Love is in the Air - Literally! CO2 Levels in the Bedroom Read >> 

The Redwoods: A Community of Seniors Read >> 

You’re A Good Mama Read >>