How To Raise A Tech Kid

Have you ever heard of an 8-year-old so excited about science or math that they were invited to the White House to talk about it? Well Kim Magloire knows two: her daughter Gabrielle Nafie and Miles Pilchik, a student who attends her after-school, weekend and summer science camp SciTech Kids, which is based in New York City.

The pair, along with Magloire, shot and narrated a video about the amazing things they’ve learned during the camp, such as using conductive Play-Doh to build circuits or launching marshmallows, gummy bears and popcorn into space to observe the changes the snacks endured when they came back down.

Their movie was chosen from 2,500 submissions as finalists in the first ever White House Student Film Festival to be held this Friday.

But Gabrielle and Miles are in a minority, considering that by the time students reach fourth grade, a third of boys and girls have lost an interest in science. So, how do you make your children as passionate as these kids are? JET spoke with Magloire to learn how an average parent can raise an tech kid. Here’s her advice.

JET: How can parents assure that their children are being taught the most up-to-date and engaging science and math curriculum?

Kim Magloire: Don’t just look at the grades in the classroom. Find out how your child did on their standardized tests. That is one indicator of how well the school is doing. Most tests are tied to state exams or common core standards.

The second thing they can do is look at the age of the textbooks and read the beginning because it will give them an idea of the method that will be used to teach children. It will also explain what you should expect your children to know by the end of the book. You might not understand the method, but you will get a sense of the expectations your child should meet.

The problem is in the younger grades a lot of schools don’t even give students textbooks, but a lot of Xerox copies. If that is the case at your school, when you go for parent-teacher conferences, ask the head of the math or science department which teaching method the teacher is using.

Is it bad to use Xerox copies and not a book? It is not necessarily bad, maybe the school uses Xerox copies to avoid kids carrying heavy textbooks. But it becomes harder for parents to track what is covered and why it is presented. With Xerox copies you don’t get a sense for where the teacher is going with the material. That can be a bit overwhelming as a parent.

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