How to Write Your Family Self-Scientist Credo
Reading time: 12 minutes
A Creative Exercise with Your Kids to Promote Learning
Here’s a wonderful exercise that will remove the negative pressure and mindsets from your efforts to help your kids to become more expert learners. Get your kids involved in helping you to write your own family “credo” as learning self-scientists. This demonstrates your openness to trying new things and having fun experimenting with new learning strategies as you go.
What is It?
Your Self-Scientist Credo states how you and your child will go about improving your child’s learning strategies. It’s a list of statements you write together that describe your open mindset and the key things you commit to do as you operate as self-scientists. This can be a fun exercise for kids of almost any age! It can draw upon a scientific method, so it’s a great opportunity to teach a little of that, and it can also connect to your family values on learning that you completed (hopefully) in Lesson 1 of our Pa 10 course on Improving Learning Power.
Credo (noun) – a statement of the beliefs or aims which guide someone’s actions. In Latin, it literally means “I believe.”
How it Helps You
You create a document or bullet list that can help motivate your kids on the journey to better learning strategies and college-readiness. It can encourage you to have fun while you help your kids try new approaches to studying. It encourages family inquiry into how we learn, and it gives your kids the mindset that the efforts to acquire and practice new skills is a fun science project.
It will describe your intended family behaviors, actions, and mindsets when you follow your own method to get better. It makes a great “how to” chart to stick on the wall! Refer to it often in your Study Planning and Review meetings, the weekly meeting that serves as your driver of progress toward much better study habits.
Let’s face it, trying to change kid’s habits can get a little tedious – for both you and the kids. How do you change this? When they have their own credo, it makes this effort more engaging and fun.
Most important, learning to build a credo about something you intend to do is a great educational exercise as you and your kids create your own fun approach to thinking about thinking.
How to Conduct Your Exercise
Depending on the age of your kids, you have many choices – you can make this credo very simple with only a few affirmative statements of how you will approach learning improvement. Or if you have older kids, you can write it including the steps of the scientific method that is used by researchers (more on this below). Any approach works as long as you craft a few good ideas you intend to follow. Remember, you are doing this to change little mindsets!
The credo will guide your actions as each of you work your “science projects” about learning.
Here’s some steps to follow:
- Initiate a discussion of why you think having a self-scientist credo is a good idea. Point out why having beliefs to guide our actions are useful and important.
- Take a look at the ideas presented below. (Optional) ask your kids to do some research on the “scientific method” and come back and explain what it is. Or this can be another lesson you want to conduct later.
- Review your “Family Values on Learning” that you created in the Pa10 course as a reminder (a good thing to do periodically). This serves as an anchor point for this exercise.
- Homework: Ask your kids to individually jot down some bulleted statements on things they think they should believe or do when you are acting as “self-scientists” (while you also build you own list of bullet points). This where the learning begins, so give them time. Provide hints to help them generate ideas. Encourage this to be rich thinking.
- Hold and lead a brainstorming meeting with a big sheet of paper or whiteboard and record everyone’s ideas. Discuss each idea and process the information. Use this as an opportunity to talk about important things like learning from failures, being creative, how we tend to resist change, continuous improvement, etc. Once you have a good list, you may need to pare it down to a limited number of essential behaviors and statements of conduct (recommend limiting this to 10 to 20). Focus the discussion on why these points are important to you.
- Finish it! Then post it on the wall where you will hold your study planning and review meetings and use it to guide your actions. For a little flourish, have everyone sign it as a form of approval or support! Take a picture and post it on Social Media.
- Celebrate the creation of your credo with a cookie!
That’s it! You’ve got a credo to guide you. What have you accomplished?
- You taught your kids how to commit to something by writing a credo.
- You helped them identify the value of trying things and learning – even when you fail.
- You’ve got them thinking about learning improvement as a value.
- You’ve established the mindset that learning improvement can be fun!
As a self-scientist, what should you commit to? Almost anything that promotes creative inquiry and improvement is good. You can always modify this as you go and learn. Post it on the wall where it is visible where you will meet. Here’s some examples you might use:
- We like experimenting with new ideas to grow our brains
- In our family, we want to use the best learning strategies and methods
- We want to know more about the science of learning
- One of our goals is to be able to learn more – but in less time!
- We are curious about which new learning strategies work best and why
- We will establish and follow plans to try new things
- There is no such thing as failure – only opportunities to learn
- We will try new methods and strategies because we are curious
- We celebrate our “wins” and successes
- If something does not work, we never abandon our commitment to learning
- We will use our own version of the scientific method
Important Elements of Science Projects
Let’s look at some of the components of a good science project. You will want to say some things about these.
- You begin with a hypothesis or prediction
- You set a plan of what you want to accomplish
- You work to that plan
- You want to test or try something new or different to see what happens
- As you work your plan you talk about what you are doing
- You try to understand why something works or does not
- You observe and record in writing what you are doing
- You can tinker with your methods and modify them
- As long as you learn, there is no failure
- A successful science project results in learning
- At the end you reach a conclusion
The Scientific Method
What do we know about the scientific method?
The primary job of the scientist is to study the world and learn about how it works. Scientists use a process called the “scientific method.” This means they follow a defined process to ask important questions and search for the answers. Sometimes they make amazing discoveries!
There are many times when a scientist tries things and they do not work. But you try again and build on your past knowledge.
- The scientific method is a step-by-step process. You use it to conduct what is called “an experiment.” You start by learning about something that interests you.
- Based on your knowledge, you make a prediction or hypothesis. A hypothesis is a smart guess you make by using what you know. You guess what you think could happen.
- You are ready to begin your experiment. During your experiment you should take notes. These notes become your “experimental data.” Every time you try something, you make observations and record them. Experiments should be done more than once so you are sure of your results.
- You might often discover new or unanticipated things that you use to revise your experiment. You can decide to incorporate a trial and error
- At an identified point, you conclude your experiment. Next, you review your notes and talk about what you have observed. You review what you did and the outcomes.
- You use this information to decide what you found out in your experiment.
- When you finish you reach a conclusion about whether or not your prediction or hypothesis was correct. You must use reasons and evidence to support your statement.
- By the time you finish, you will either prove that your prediction was right, or you will prove that it was wrong. Either result is OK. Remember – your goal is learning how things work!
What can I adapt from this to use in our credo?
Doublecheck it – What will motivate your kids to work as researchers?
Scientific Method – Use a 6 Step Worksheet
Here’s a sample worksheet that your child can use to follow the scientific method. There are six steps to follow and track.
Click here to download a pdf of this worksheet.