How to use simple science experiments to help your child ask questions.
Questions form the foundation of our ability to learn new information. Many children with language and/or pragmatic delays struggle with the ability to ask questions appropriately. The first concept children need to understand is that questions are used to find out information you do not know. Model this for them by telling them your thought process before you ask questions.
One of my favorite ways to teach this important skill is through simple science experiments that can be done with everyday household items. Here’s an example of how to model questions using one of my favorite experiments: dancing popcorn! (http://www.letstalkscience.ca/programs-resources/activities/item/how-can-you-make-popcorn-kernels-dance.html).
What Questions: “I’m wondering what we need to do this experiment, so I’m going to ask, ‘What do we need?”
Where Questions: “I see we need popcorn kernels, I don’t know where the popcorn kernels are, I bet your dad knows so let’s go ask him ‘where are the popcorn kernels?’”
Completing the Experiment
What Questions: “Are you wondering what we need to do first? (child responds yes), “Okay, then ask me, ‘what do we need to do first?’” *Bonus questions to work on prediction skills: “I’m wondering what will happen when we add the vinegar. What do you think will happen when we add the vinegar?”
Who Questions: “I wonder who should pour the water into the glass, so I’m going to ask you, “Who should pour the water into the glass?”
How Questions: “The experiment is called dancing popcorn, I’m wondering how to make the popcorn dance. Are you wondering how to make the popcorn dance?”
After the Experiment
When Questions (perfect for sequencing!): “I’m wondering if you remember when the popcorn started to dance so I’m going to ask you, ‘when did the popcorn start to dance?”
Why Questions: “Are you wondering if I know why the popcorn kernels moved? (child says yes) “Okay, ask me, ‘why did the popcorn kernels move?”
And most importantly, have fun! Here are some other fun science experiments to try: https://sciencebob.com/category/experiments/
–Karen, TEAM 4 Kids SLP