I’ve started teaching science twice a week to two home-schooled 13 year olds.

Before making a map of where you’d like to go, you need to know where you are; so we started out discussing what they already know about science. One of the kids thought “Pretty much everything’s been discovered by now.”┬áThe other one didn’t have too much to say about the subject.

Luckily, neither one knows a lot about science, or is religious, so they’re both blank slates when it comes to science. Maybe they’ll find science fun and interesting.

Science is about how stuff works; it’s really just finding a thing that you want to figure out, and coming up with a model of how you think it works. Next, test and record “experiments” using your model. And finally showing the results to your peers for comment; and hopefully they’ll also try to repeat what you did. And there’s still lots of stuff science doesn’t understand yet.

Most people find the story part of science more interesting than the spreadsheet part; people prefer words over numbers.

Fortunately, there’re lots of science stories to tell before you need to get into formulas and numbers. The story part of science provides the frame to hang the formula and numbers part on. Hopefully these two kids will like finding out how their world works. Who knows, maybe they’ll start asking about the formula and numbers part.

But if they only wind up understanding the story part, they’ll still be way ahead of most people in appreciating the world we live in.