learning through play

Foster your child’s curiosity with this simple at-home experiment

The world around us is surrounded by the thrilling wonders of science. Growing up, be it we are swinging on a monkey bar, mixing colours for an art project, or even talking to our best friends using paper cup phones attached to a string, it is science that explains how these ‘magical’ moments are possible.   

Since children do not know what they don’t know, it is up to us parents, guardians, and educators, to intentionally explain the science behind each of these little joys and fill their minds with knowledge. This also helps to preserve their sense of wonder as they pursue big questions about the world, even if they are stuck at home due to the pandemic.

Today, we are seeing more young people value science and STEM subjects. Findings from this year’s 3M State of Science Index (SOSI), an annual, third-party study commissioned by global science company 3M, echoed this sentiment. In the Asia Pacific region, 73% agree that young people are more engaged in science and science-related issues than ever before (vs. 69% globally). Amongst those who believe corporations should be involved in supporting STEM education, the top action they wanted corporates to prioritize include creating resources for kids to get involved in science at an early age (46% vs. 44% globally).

To ensure that the appreciation of science remains high, we need to continue fostering curiosity and encouraging our young ones to unleash their inner scientists. Through this easy and engaging at-home experiment, you can help contribute to the growth of STEM by stimulating your child’s mind and having fun in the process.

Be sure to test out the experiment yourselves before trying it with your little scientists as the activity listed below would require parental supervision.

Blast off with a paper rocket

Preparing our children for different stages of life may seem like rocket science but let’s take a step back and enjoy the time we have together with some paper rocket science.

Materials needed: 2 pieces of paper, scissors, drinking straw and tape

In science, we learn that variables may affect the outcome of an experiment. Let’s explore how different designs can change the way your rocket propels:

  1. Fold a piece of paper into four and cut them into smaller rectangles.
  • Take one of the small rectangles and roll it around the straw to make a tube (not too tight). Tape the tube you have made so it stays rolled up. 
  • Next, pinch and tape one end of the tube to make the nose of the rocket.
  • With a different piece of small rectangle paper, cut some right-angled triangles to make fins before taping them onto the tube.
  • Repeat steps to make a few rockets with different tube lengths and/or different numbers of fins.

Place the rocket on the straw and blow for blast off. When you are experimenting, you may realize that some changes make a bigger difference than others. Once you have an idea of what changes are the most important, try designing a rocket that can go the farthest, or fly the most accurately.

Learn more about this experiment at the 3M Science at Home website.

Find out what other experiments 3M scientists are sharing by watching the videos at the Science at Home webpage. Hopefully, these experiments can help inspire your child and ignite their passion for science and learning. 

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