discovery toys blog of billie elias
Tips for parents who play with their children or who want stay-at-home income.
Toys for special need, autism, gifted and typical kids.

January 27, 2011

Were Dean Kamen & Obama comparing notes?

President Obama, in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, took a page right out of Dean Kamen's playbook when he said:
The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us –- as citizens, and as parents –- are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.

That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. (Applause.) We need to teach them that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST Robotics and inventor of the Segway and dozens of other cool things, has said we elevate sports stars to the level of hero, but why not scientists who make significant contributions to society? "You have teenagers thinking they're going to make millions as NBA stars when that's not realistic for even 1 percent of them. Becoming a scientist or engineer is."

In November 2009, the President remarked in a speech that "scientists and engineers ought to stand side by side with athletes and entertainers as role models, and here at the White House we’re going to lead by example. We’re going to show young people how cool science can be."

I'm all in favor of encouraging kids in math and science. If we don't, our economy is likely to slip even further. I'm not talking about cockeyed schemes of financial engineering. I'm talking about encouraging our kids to pursue careers in science and technology that can find a cure for cancer, make us less dependent on fossil fuels, free us up to invent useful services, or create machines that enrich our lives. In order to design and build those machines, a child first needs to have built things like Marbleworks, needs to have learned to think logically and strategically by playing games like Tactico, to be able to put the left half of a puzzle together with the right half, to have put red ball in the red hole of Hammer Away, to be able to match one pattern to another in Think-it-Through Tiles, to follow schematics like those in Motor Works. It all begins in the earliest days of life when the learning process is set in motion and the connections in the brain are rapidly developing. Parents begin by introducing stories, songs, toys that stimulate the senses and eventually get down on the floor to play with their kids. Every family should be encouraged to have the kinds of toys that foster that kind of interaction: low-tech, high kid-involvement, healthy playthings, such as those offered by Discovery Toys. If you wait until your child is school-age, you will have missed the boat. Won't you instill the love of learning in your child today?

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin