In the world of child psychology there is a term that most parents would be familiar with; cause and effect. This is the where you teach your child that for every action there is a reaction. This concept is useful for teaching things such as “if you don’t do X, then Y will happen” where X represents things such as eating their dinner or cleaning their room, and Y represents things such as going hungry or having their toys taken away as respective punishments.
Alternatively, there’s also those “if you DO do X, they Y may happen” where X now represents things such as fighting with a sibling or climbing on furniture, and Y representing going into quiet time or having an accident.
In psychological terms, cause and effect is all about the actions we do and don’t do, and the results of those actions or inactions. For some, the topic of cause and effect would undoubtedly be included within the moral education of children. And once again, for some, moral education is thrown in with religious education because we all know too well that without religious guidance, where would we get our morals from?
At the moment the March for Science movement is being promoted as a rebuttal of Donald Trump’s administration’s views on climate change and science as well as the misrepresentation and exclusion of scientific knowledge in policy decisions. With marches having been conducted in the US and around the world on Earth Day, 22 April, 2017, they are being supported with a week long action plan that can be viewed on their website.
Some critics including some well known scientist are against the marches and this movement in part as they believe that is promotes science as an ideology rather than it being based on evidence and facts. It is no secret that many people see religion as the enemy of science, and vice versa. There are those who believe wholly in God and the Gospels and interpret them to believe that the earth is flat, evolution is “just a theory” and gravity could not exist without God making it so.
But not all religious people are against science and are happy to acknowledge that the religious texts that many devoted God-fearing organisations believe are facts are in fact not actually factual. They are not the word of God to the nth degree.
As an non-believer and lover of science, I know there are many things still attributed to a creator God or gods that science has a natural world based answer for, and that there are some questions that we don’t know the answers to just yet, but they are not the workings of any deity.
Our youngest son is two months short of turning 6yo. He is an inquisitive child who is obsessed with watching chain reaction, domino and ball machine videos on YouTube and then building them himself. He has a love of Rube Goldberg and his machines and is obsessed by the 2003 Honda advertisement known as “The Cog” which depicts a Rube Goldberg machine made solely of car parts from the seventh generation Honda Accord.
Last week, with Grandpa’s Easter money we ventured into the shops were we found this spiral marble race educational toy. My dad doesn’t like giving chocolate to the kids as he thinks they get too much sugar already; wise words from a diabetic who was obsessed with sugar himself growing up.
It’s the second one that has been bought for him with another earlier version of this also purchased from Kmart a few years back. Some of the parts for this one have been lost or broken hence why the new one was purchased.
He was probably too young when he got the first one, as even though it suggests that it is suitable for children 3+, some things just aren’t really that suitable for kids that young as they don’t want to pack it up afterwards, they have no concept of losing parts, and their appreciation of what it is trying to teach is often lost on them.
Our first born son spent Saturday afternoon and night at a friend’s house. The following day, along with that friend, he attended another friend’s birthday party and ended up staying the night at that child’s house. As my wife was attending a work conference from Friday through to Sunday afternoon, it gave me time to attend to things round that house, and then spend some quality time with our 5yo son.
I have to admit that I was happy to ship him off to a friend’s house on Saturday where he spent almost six hours playing with the new ball track which he was so desperate to show his school friend. After I picked him up we spent the rest of the afternoon building more tracks until Mummy came home so that we could go out for dinner.
On Sunday it was just him and I hanging out together. His love of mini golf meant that we had to go to one of his favourite putt putt courses. Before that, as I made him breakfast he was talking to me about the concept of gravity and how it works. I tossed a jar that I had in my hand and was grateful that my catching skills are good as I would have hated to have had the glass jar smash over the kitchen floor.
Whilst the first marble track wasn’t pitched as an educational toy, the new one shows on the box how it promotes concentration as well as cause and effect. From my example with the jar I tossed up and then caught, I decided to explain gravity using the marble track as the experiment.
Later than day, as we played mini golf, I was once again able to explain the concept of gravity as many of the holes rely on it to successfully navigate your way from the start to the hole.
I explained the whole concept of “what goes up must come down” and how we can use the angle of trajectory to throw, hit or kick an object and make it hit our intended target. He’s too young to fully grasp all the concepts that I throw at him, but his willingness to keep asking the questions means that he’s not turned off by those things that go over his head.
Our Sunday mornings may not be spent at church learning about the cause and effect of not believing in a powerful being and “His” beloved son which may be interpreted by some that we’re happy for the “eternal afterlife in Hell” being the effect of that, but any time spent with my boys teaching them about the wonders of science and the world around us means that for the time we are spending above the ground on this spherical planet of ours, we are enjoying learning about how physics applies to cause and effects.
To check out the March For Science website, click here.
Please note that this is not an endorsement or advertisement for Kmart Australia; we just love buying ball tracks from there.