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From black holes to how the world began, parents struggle to answer scientific questions, a study finds

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08 Sep 2017

‘What are black holes?’, ‘how did the world begin?’ and ‘how does the internet work?’ are among the questions asked by children that parents struggle to answer, a study has found


‘What are black holes?’ came fifth with ‘why is water wet?’, ‘why do people die?’ and ‘how did the world begin?’ close behind.

‘Where do babies come from?’, ‘why is the sea salty?’ and ‘why is the moon sometimes out in the day?’ completed the top ten.

Other questions from intrigued youngsters which leave parents scratching their heads include ‘why is the sky blue?’, ‘what makes the earth spin?’ and ‘how do planes fly?’.

But while 47 per cent of parents just respond with an honest ‘I don’t know’, 28 per cent admit to trying to cobble together an answer which sounds like it could be right while 35 per cent tell the youngster to Google it.

Twenty-three per cent Google it themselves and then pretend they knew the answer all along while others tell the child to ask their teacher (14%) or a sibling or other parent (11%).

Thirty-three per cent of parents even admitted to knowingly telling their children the wrong answer because they didn’t want to admit they didn’t know.

But 80 per cent of parents admit this has back fired when their children have then repeated the wrong answer to other people because they believed it to be right.

A spokesman for ACS added:  “The extent to which science based subjects grab children’s interests is fascinating. It certainly underpins our commitment to equipping our teachers and students with the very facilities and skills they need to teach, learn and develop this obvious early curiosity.

“It’s clear too that parents should be brought into the picture too as they are quite clearly struggling to cope with many of the questions posed by their inquisitive offspring.”

Top 30 impossible questions:

1.     What does God look like?

2.     What came first, the chicken or the egg?

3.     Where do you go when you die?

4.     What are black holes?

5.     Why is water wet?

6.     Why do people die?

7.     How did the world begin?

8.     Where do babies come from?

9.     Why is the sea salty?

10.  Why is the moon sometimes out in the day?

11.  How does the internet work?

12.  Why is the sky blue?

13.  Where does wind come from?

14.  Why do we have a leap year?

15.  What makes the Earth spin?

16.  Why is blood red?

17.  What is infinity?

18.  How big is the world?

19.  Why doesn’t the sky fall down?

20.  Why does cutting onions make you cry?

21.  How do planes fly?

22.  How do telephones work?

23.  How does TV work?

24.  Why am I right/left handed?

25.  What is electricity?

26.  How do clouds float?

27.  How does the car work?

28.  How do the sun and moon stay in the sky?

29.  Why are people’s eyes different colours?

30.  How does lightning strike?


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