Have you ever watched a baby or toddler move around a room? As they play, babies are constantly doing experiments. They are tiny scientists!

Science is all about …

• Asking a question:

“Why do my blocks fall down?”

• Testing an idea:

“If I put the bigger blocks on the bottom, will my stack stay standing?”

• And finding an answer:

“I must need the bigger blocks on the bottom!”

It doesn’t even matter if an idea about how to answer a question is the right one. What matters is the process of inquiry, or questioning.

Of course, babies don’t really ask themselves these questions. Their play leads them to problem-solve all the time. This type of trial-and-error discovery continues as we get older. That’s one way that we learn.

This week, the Mini Page finds out more about keeping science fun and interesting for kids as we explore Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Science and Engineering Month.

A natural process

Babies may be the youngest scientists, but experts say children remain naturally curious about how things work. However, when kids get to be 11 or 12 years old, things can change, especially for girls.

Traditionally, boys have been encouraged in science, engineering and math. Girls have been steered toward other subjects, such as English or history.

But one expert says that if kids can maintain an interest in science through the eighth grade, they have a better chance of choosing a career in a science-related field.

A different age

When your great-grandparents were young, there were many jobs for adults in manufacturing, or making things. We called this the industrial age.

Today our economy is more based on information and creative services. Many scientific fields are also now related to other areas. For example, a geologist may have to know a lot about chemistry and biology.

With modern challenges such as climate change and protecting our environment, we need more and more good minds asking questions and testing answers to solve our problems.

Girls at an Expanding Your Horizons conference complete a science experiment with the help of a female scientist. Experts say that many adults in scientific jobs liked science as children and stayed interested through the eighth grade and beyond.