Encouraging your teen’s interest in science

12 - 18 years
Microscope outdoors

Children are born natural scientists – curious and eager to learn about the world around them. But often in the teenage years, this natural interest can seem to disappear and teenagers begin to think of science as boring, confusing or difficult. You can help encourage your teen’s interest in science with these simple tips!

Encourage questioning

Children are constantly asking questions – encourage your teen to keep doing this as they get older! Having an inquiring mind is not only important to science, but is a valuable trait to carry throughout life. Encourage your teen to think critically, explain their reasoning, experiment and evaluate – science skills that are essential in all areas of life and occupations.

Find science in the real world

Teens can often get more engaged with science when they can see how it applies in the real world. Visit places where your teen can experience science in action – such as the planetarium, observatory, aquarium, zoo, museums and galleries. You can also look out for interactive websites, science fairs, and science holiday programs that your teen might be interested in.

Keep up with the news

Science is often more interesting for teens if they can understand how it impacts on our daily lives. Watch the news to keep on top of the latest developments in all fields of science, from medical breakthroughs to new technologies – and take the opportunity to talk to your teen about what they think about them.

Focus on effort, not ‘talent’ or grades

Science subjects at school can be challenging. So instead of focusing on grades, try to focus on the effort your teen puts in to their science learning – and praise them for their effort and improvement. This can encourage your teen to develop a ‘growth mindset’ – the belief that the more effort they put in, the more they will learn, develop and achieve.

Talk about science careers

Teens often have an image of a scientist as someone working alone in a laboratory all day in a white coat – but this certainly isn’t the case! Talk to your teen about all of the different fields where science is applied every day – from food science to marine biology, and from fashion designing to physiotherapy.

Link science to something your teen loves

Given the impact science and technology makes in every aspect of our lives, it is easy to link science to something your teen already loves! Does your teen love to cook? Great, encourage them to research the chemistry of cooking or watch celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal. If your teen loves playing computer games, encourage them to explore the world of coding to develop their own game. Or if your teen loves cars, they could research the physics and mechanics of how engines operate.

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Last modified
1 August 2019