Ah, so you've reached the high school years. I'm in the same boat, but I'm finding the more I think about it, the less anxiety I'm having over it. Really, the high school years shouldn't be gloom and doom, and all seriousness. In fact, learning shouldn't just stop being fun because you get older. My approach to high school has been find his passions, and try as much as possible to make learning enjoyable.
For my oldest, he decided that he wanted to take chemistry his freshman year. Not having the math he would need to take the class, he decided that he wanted to do it so much, that he was going to learn the math right along side of it. We explained that this was going to be tough, and require a little more effort on his part. So with that, he buckled down and took his first year of chemistry alongside the algebra he needed, and passed with an A. Thankfully his dad is a math whiz, and could fill in to help when he had questions. He loved every minute of it. He was engaged, and passionate about the subject. He taught me so many things about the world around us, that I've never even heard of. It was exciting as a parent to see him taking school seriously, but enjoying it at the same time.
I'm finding that if I meet enthusiasm with excitement, they're generally willing to dig their heels in deeper and put forth way more effort into learning, than if I were to make him take a particular class. What we've done is compiled a list of the needed credits for high school, and gave him choices. When he's the responsible one for making those choices, (not including math and English), he seems to put forth so much more effort.
So how does my experience relate to getting your teen excited about science? What do they say of people who do their jobs every day and they love it? Oh yeah, they love it! There are so many branches of science that you can explore,all you have to do is find that person, meet them face to face, or online and let them tell you about why they love their jobs. Excitement, and happiness can be contagious. Take Mayim Bialik for instance.
or How about Alan Sage a Vegetarian Scientist
How about Larrr Rosenblum, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California Riverside.
There are hundreds of videos, books, blogs and articles to share with your teen, perhaps just a nudge in the right direction will give them a starting point to get really excited about science this year.
Here are the hobbies of 5 of 10 physicists featured in the Perimeter Institute infographic 'What great scientists did when they weren't doing great science.' (Perimeter Institute)