At Mystery Science, our mission is to help children stay curious.
Young children love to ask questions. They’re naturally curious about the world: “Why does it get cold in the winter?” “Why do we need to cook our food?” “Why are flowers so colorful?” The sad fact is, by the time most children reach middle or high school, they've lost this curiosity. Science class rarely focuses on helping children investigate their questions. Instead, it becomes a vocabulary class where children memorize science words and definitions. Children learn that their questions are not important so they stop asking them.
Think back to your experience in science class. All the memorization! The parts of a cell: nucleus, cytoplasm, mitochondria. Or the layers of the Earth: crust, mantle, molten core. But this memorization is empty knowledge. How do we know there's a molten core in the middle of the Earth? Did your teacher ever mention that people have only drilled seven miles into the Earth, which doesn’t even get through the crust? This is the place the conversation should start! Children are rarely, if ever, given the opportunity to explore the questions that led to the discovery of the facts they're memorizing.
Every scientific conclusion began as a mystery. Someone wondered something about the world, and they set out to investigate it. When we present scientific facts without also helping children to ponder the initial questions, it's like jumping to the last page of a mystery novel. You skip the setup and the investigation, leaving you with a conclusion that's detached and meaningless. Children are deprived of the excitement of wonder, the suspense of investigation, and the thrill of discovery. And worse, children learn to believe things because they're told; this is the very opposite of what it means to think scientifically.
At Mystery Science, we believe that if you take a child’s questions seriously and help them to investigate, their natural curiosity will develop into a scientific perspective on the world. This ability to think scientifically is fundamental to any career or subject a child chooses to pursue as an adult. It's the ability to look at a question or problem, systematically investigate and collect evidence, and come to an independent conclusion.