Shyzer, M. et al.
It’s never too early to get your kids interested in science! Not all of them will grow up to be Nobel winners, but with proper encouragement any child can become the subject of controversial scientific experiments. Pique your kids’ curiosity and encourage scientific thinking by replicating these famous experiments at home. For improved results, use the neighbours’ kids as the control group .
Stanford Prison Experiment
In the original behavioural experiment, volunteers were randomly assigned to be either prisoners or guards in a pretend jail. Though the experiment devolved into chaos and had to be shut down, parents love to replicate it with their own children to this day. Just leave your children alone for a few hours after arbitrarily telling one of them, “You’re in charge.”
Pavlov conditioned dogs in his lab to salivate in response to various stimuli, but you don’t have to stop at bells and whistles. Try consistently serving dinner while watching Jeopardy!, giving your children a lifelong hunger response to the sound of Alex Trebek’s voice.
Mendel’s Pea Plants
In a way, every child is an iteration of Gregor Mendel’s groundbreaking research into inheritance. What Mendel did with pea plants – crossing specimens with varying characteristics and observing the results – you can do with your own offspring: Conceive each of your children with different partners (get the whole neighbourhood in on the fun!), then carefully record their resulting characteristics. If you’re crafty consider turning your data into a handmade quilt or scrapbook the entire blended family can enjoy.
Asch Conformity Study
This study found that the majority of people – nearly three quarters – will trust the opinions of the herd over their own observations, even when the herd is obviously, demonstrably wrong. You can replicate this effect at home by getting the whole family to commit to a simple lie for the children – like telling them thunder is the sound of elephants playing soccer in the sky, or that fairies have a financial interest in their discarded teeth.
Edward Jenner’s Inoculation Experiments
Jenner’s early test of smallpox vaccination on an eight-year-old boy is a classic example of getting kids involved with science at an early age, whether they want to be or not. It’s really not even an experiment. Just vaccinate your children.