Preschool and kindergarten science activities about tracking animals

A little girl studying an animal track - a canine paw print - left in dirt.

© 2009 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved These preschool and kindergarten science activities build on what most young children are already interested in — animals! And in addition to teaching lessons about biology, they also offer kids opportunities to practice analytical, spatial, and symbolic reasoning skills. Where to begin: Free exploration with Read More »

Evidence-based social skills activities for children and teens (with teaching tips)

Building social skills: Diverse group of children playing together

© 2009-2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved These social skills activities can help kids forge positive relationships — and better understand what other people are feeling and thinking. How can we help children develop social competence — the ability to read emotions, cooperate, make friends, and negotiate conflicts? Kids learn when we act as good Read More »

Lack of math education may shortchange a teenager’s developing brain

frustrated, hopeless teenage girl standing with forehead against a blackboard of algebraic equations

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Some teens study lots of math. Others avoid it. Does it make a difference? Yes, and not only to career prospects. New research suggests it might also affect brain chemistry, and the way that students learn. How many years of math should you take in high school? Read More »

Preschool science experiment: Using ice to teach kids about scientific concepts (with crucial safety tips)

preschool boy carefully removing ice tray from freezer

© 2008 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved A preschool science experiment is an opportunity to introduce children to the concepts of observation, prediction, and testing (Gelman and Brenneman 2004). Exciting? Yes. But it’s also tricky. On the one hand, research suggests that young children don’t think as creatively or as critically when Read More »

The effects of television on learning to speak: Is it helpful or harmful?

toddler watching television

© 2009 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What are the effects of television on language learning? Studies report a link between TV and language development in young children. The more time kids spend watching television, the more slowly they learn to talk. What’s going on? Some people conclude that the effects of Read More »

Teaching critical thinking: The first step is to pause and reflect

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved Why do we fall for fallacies? Why do we get duped by lies? It isn’t because we lack brain power, and it isn’t because we are helpless to overcome our own biases. Instead, what’s really crucial is whether we take the time to pause and reflect — to consciously Read More »

Spaced learning: Why kids benefit from shorter lessons — with breaks

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What is the “spaced learning” effect? If your child needs to learn something — and you want that learning to stick — the best approach is to space learning sessions apart in time. A single, long lesson is usually less helpful than multiple, short lessons. A break Read More »

Choosing books for beginning readers: Sometimes less is more

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved The most helpful books for beginning readers keep fancy details to a minimum, and this applies to imagery as well as to text. “Busy” illustrations can be distracting, and interfere with a young child’s reading comprehension. Books designed for new and emerging readers are sometimes very exciting Read More »