Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are a huge focus in the education system today. There are entire charter schools devoted to STEM-only educations. They push for more programs that focus on these important subjects is greater than ever.
U.S. students are lagging behind other countries when it comes to science and math, and with STEM subjects as an integral part of everyday life, that needs to change. At the public education level, change is often slow so you can start encouraging your child to learn STEM concepts at home with these tips.
Get Out Your Favorite Toys
LEGO, Play-Doh, blocks, and more are excellent ways to teach the E. Build top-heavy structures and explain why it stays up, or why it falls down. Was it supported properly with a strong foundation? Was it built on anything unstable? The more you build, the better your child will become because he or she will begin to understand the concepts of engineering.
Let the Child Teach
Kids are brilliant when it comes to technology. They typically pick it up easily and often wind up teaching their parents things they didn’t even know. Allow your children to play around with a coding site like code.org or Khan Academy’s Intro to JS: Drawing & Animation program, and then let them teach you what they’ve learned. Be the student. This reinforces technology knowledge for better retention.
Make a Rube Goldberg Machine
You may not be familiar with the name, but you’ll know what the machine is after the description. A Rube Goldberg Machine uses simple chain reactions from other small machines to accomplish an easy task in a super complicated way. Think the scene in Goonies where the bowling ball rolls across several levels of actions just so that the gate opens for Chunk to enter. Your child will gain some exciting insights into physics and process while building and deploying the machine.
Invite them into the Kitchen
Cooking and baking are great ways to encourage mathematics in the home. Dividing meal components into portions, using measuring spoons and cups, and figuring up half or double recipes. It will engage children in learning without them even realizing it. You can make it more challenging by giving them the wrong measuring device (like a ¼ teaspoon instead of a ½) and asking them to still use the correct portion. They will learn that two ¼ teaspoons equal ½ teaspoon which intros fraction addition.
The STEM is a critical component of education for the advancement of society. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is all around us. Developing and expanding the minds of students by using techniques that encourage STEM understanding will help future generations progress the field of science. For more information on the STEM, check out LiveScience’s detailed discussion on the subject.