Would this question be too off topic for the biology stack exchange?

My 12 year old son has shown a lot of enthusiasm for science, specifically biology. I am a software engineer, so I know what I would read / give / show to a budding programmer to pique their interest. What would you have found useful or fun to fuel your passion for biology when you were younger?


Some guidance from the help that is relevant:

On-topic areas:

general questions about biological concepts

questions about the biological mechanisms behind medical conditions

questions about techniques in a biological or biochemical laboratory

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like pedagogy is typically considered on-topic for this SE site. Questions about pedagogy like "how can I teach about XYZ?" are often rejected. However, personally, I am not entirely opposed to this type of question, actually I like it very much, but I could very well be in the minority.

The other problem with your question is that it is inherently subjective, and usually "opinion-based" questions aren't allowed here.

Again, from the help, about subjective questions:

Some subjective questions are allowed, but “subjective” does not mean “anything goes”. All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. What does that mean? Constructive subjective questions:

inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”

tend to have long, not short, answers

have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone

invite sharing experiences over opinions

insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references

are more than just mindless social fun

I think it might be hard to fit your question into this mold, especially the bits about producing long, not short, answers and providing facts/references, though your question is leaning positively in the direction of "sharing experiences over opinions." If you kept all these things in mind you might be able to craft your question into something more likely to be accepted, but there is no guarantee.

An alternative, if you don't want to spend all afternoon trying to convince some people on the internet that your question is valid, is to ask on the Biosphere, the general discussion chat for Biology.SE (I assume your site-wide rep bonus applies to the 20-rep requirement to participate). That chat has had plenty of relevent but officially "off-topic" (in terms of ideal question-asking) conversation, the major downside being that answers you get will be primarily for your own benefit and there won't be any easy found archive for future parents of curious children.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for taking the time to answer this. Opinion based answers are generally frowned upon in Stackoverflow too. I did think about asking in the Parental exchange. However, since it was specifically for biology I wanted something more targeted. I think I will do what you suggest and write in the chat. Then create a wiki-answer on Parental to log the discoveries. At least then it would be searchable. $\endgroup$
    – Knossos
    Mar 15 '17 at 7:18

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