Studies tell us that academic performance and achievement is enhanced when parents become actively involved in their children’s education. Sounds like good old common sense, doesn’t it? After all, the parent is the child’s first teacher. In fact, a 1997 PTA sponsored study concluded that one of the most accurate predictors of students academic progress and success is the extent to which parents (1) create a home environment that encourages learning; (2) communicate high but reasonable expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers; and (3) involve themselves in their children’s education at school and in the community. So, what can parents do to help their children become more interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics?

  • One of the most important ways parents can help their children develop an interest in mathematics, science, and technology is by exhibiting attitudes and values that support learning.
  • Listen to children’s ideas and explanations. Encourage them to ask questions and to seek answers. Avoid “negative” statements such as “I never liked these subjects when I was in school” or I got my worst grades in these subjects.” Be positive. Help communicate the importance of mathematics, science, and technology and expect your children to be successful in these areas.
  • Help children see the mathematics, science, and technology that exists around them and that they encounter in their daily lives. Point out how these subjects are used around their home, in their community, by various professionals, and in such endeavors as music and sports. The business and sports sections of the daily newspaper contain lots of examples. Be sure to check out the health and the science and technology sections of the paper.
  • Involve your children in family activities and “everyday” jobs that use mathematics, science, and technology. Activities such as determining how much paint is required to cover a room if a gallon covers “x” number of square feet. Things that no longer work and now simply occupy space in the attic or garage are great teaching tools. Encourage children to take these items apart to learn how they go together, how they work (and, perhaps, determine why they no longer work).
  • It is never too early for children to think about “what they want to be when they grow up.” Encourage your children to ask questions and to find out about different jobs. How much education is needed? How much mathematics, science, and technology are required? When you encounter people in a “science-related” career, encourage your child to ask questions about their jobs and the education required for them.
  • Become familiar with the national and state standards for mathematics, science, and technology. Find out which concepts align with which grades. Learn which skills are expected to be mastered at which grades. Become familiar with the mathematics, science, and technology curriculum offered by the local school division.
  • Taking part in organizations and/or events sponsored by the 4-H, the Girl Scouts, and the Boys and Girls Clubs is a great way for children to develop an interest in mathematics, science, and technology.
  • Participating in informal learning activities, activities that are not mandatory and occur outside the school (i.e., formal learning) setting is an excellent way to help children develop an interest in mathematics, science, and technology. Museums, science centers, planetariums, aquariums, and zoos, just a few, are some of the many informal learning opportunities that exist within the community.

Parents, here are some organizations, and Internet resources that you can use to help create an “active” learning environment for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We don't pretend to know of or be able to list every good web site on the Internet. Here are a few web sites to get you started.

How Can We Help You?

How Can Parents Get Involved?
KSNN’s “big sister” (The NASA SciFiles™) has some great information about the “hows and whys” of parental involvement in a child’s education.
How Can Parents Get Involved?

Kidsites For Parents
Your kids will think you are the BEST parent when you show them fun web sites. The web sites have been selected as kid-safe and kid-friendly.
Kidsites For Parents

Welcome to Home2School
Home2School is an interactive web site for parents. Parents can refresh their memory on long forgotten skills (Two Minute Tutorials) and find reading books for their children by grade level and interest (soccer, music, horses, etc.) Parents can also make their children top performers by ensuring that all the essential learning objectives have been completed. You can build a personalized education plan for your student according to the standards adopted by your state.
Welcome to Home2School

NASA Web Sites

Enter the NASA portal to explore the many facets of NASA. Learn the latest in space news; find math, science, and technology activities for home or the classroom; shoot a cannonball into orbit; or design your own mission to Mars. It’s all just a few clicks away.

The NASA SCI Files™
Come explore the tree house and help the tree house detectives solve their latest problem. Conduct experiments from Dr. D’s lab, play the online Problem-Based Learning (PBL) game, or just check out the research rack, expert’s corner, or media room. This is a great site for parents, educators, and students in grades 3-5.

Engineering and Technology Web Sites

Kids Design Network
Investigate a challenge, dream up a design, and draw your plans on the computer. Then, using the Internet, you can show your design to a real engineer! Best of all it’s free!

The Tech Museum of Innovation
A hands-on technology museum devoted to inspiring the innovator in everyone.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame
Celebrate the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of great inventors showcased on this web site through exhibits and presentations.

Discover Engineering™
As you dig into this site, you will discover a wealth of information on engineering and careers. There are also some really "cool stuf" and games.

What Engineers Do
Discover what engineers do, what the job is like, and even how much they are paid

Web Sites for Girls

Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)
A nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging women and girls in the mathematical sciences. AWM also offers a mentoring program.

Association for Women in Science (AWIS)
An organization dedicated to achieving equity and full participation for women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
An organization representing women in engineering and technical fields.

Government Education Web Sites

FirstGov Web Sites
The U.S. government’s official web site portal. Includes links and general information about web sites relating to every part of your daily life.

U. S. Department of Education
The U.S. government’s official web site dedicated to updating you on the latest developments in education across the country.

Virginia Department of Education
A great example of a state’s education web site designed to easily provide the best and latest education information for all parents.

The Library of Congress
More than a library. . .an on-line collection of the words, pictures, and sounds of our country in a library that never closes.

Web Sites that will make you feel like an expert

Kidsites For Parents
Your kids will think you are the BEST parent when you show them fun web sites. The web sites have been selected as kid-safe and kid-friendly.
Kidsites For Parents

Parents Talk
ParentsTalk is a free on-line parenting magazine with parenting tips, family activities, crafts for children, games, and help with a difficult child and other parenting information. Get parenting advice from parent experts. Share your stories and insights on the parent message boards.

TEAMS Programming for Parents
Parents will enjoy this section of a web site sponsored by the Los Angeles Office of Education. Find loads of resources on arts and music, K-12 lesson plans, books online, professional development, math, history, social sciences, standards and assessment, internet and technology resources and more.
TEAMS Programming for Parents

Science For Families
Check out this collection of project ideas and links designed to get kids interested in science. Articles, scientific facts, and a message board can also be found here.

Web Sites “Just For Fun”

Imagiverse.... the universe of our imaginations has no boundaries. Imagiverse believes that imagination is the key to learning. Teachers can teach, but learning comes from within. The web site's goal is to spark the flame that will lead young and old to pursue learning as an adventure through imagination. Activities, resources, and lots of information are available for all to see and use.

With over 12,000 web pages exploring hundreds of different topics, the Exploratorium is a collage of over 650 science, art, and human perception exhibits.

A source for clear, reliable explanations of how everything around us actually works.

Brain POP™
Educational animated movies for K-12 created to help explain concepts and to demystify math, science, health, technology, and English topics in an entertaining way for both children and adults.

Books, periodicals, pamphlets, and web sites may provide teachers and students with background information and extensions. Inclusion of a resource does not constitute an endorsement, either expressed or implied, by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Produced by the NASA LaRC Office of Education
Responsible NASA Official: Dr. Robert M. Starr
Grade K-2 Animations - Destiny Images, Inc., Copyright 2004
Privacy PolicyRights & Use Information

Rights & Use Information

NASA's Destination Tomorrow™ is a production of NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA. All Rights Reserved. Registered stations are granted an unlimited non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, and perform and display publicly our copyrighted works, enabling you to broadcast the programs as often as you like with the following stipulations.

NASA's Destination Tomorrow™ shall not be:
used for commercial purposes; used, in whole or in part, to endorse a commercial product; stored in whole or in part, in a commercial database; altered electronically, mechanically, or photographically without the expressed and prior written permission of NASA.