A WISE PERSON ONCE SAID, “IF THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER THEN STEM IS YOUR GEM.”
Ok, nobody ever said that. (Let’s hope.) But STEM (an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) IS a gem of a concept packed with important education that kids need to succeed.
But here’s the deal: Younger generations, especially females, are losing interest in STEM related things before reaching their teen years.
IT’S TIME TO TURN THIS AROUND – FAST!
Experts say it’s never too early for kids to be introduced to STEM related ideas. And while science, technology, engineering and mathematics feel heavy and serious, the trick is to present the concepts in light and fun ways.
Sounds tricky. But Maria makes it easy! Download her FREE STEM EXPLORATION SHEET full of easy activities to try today. (Ivory soap does WHAT when you microwave it? How cool.)
HERE ARE A FEW OTHER WAYS TO SNEAK IN STEM EDUCATION WITHOUT THE KIDS EVEN NOTICING:
1. I’M A SUCKER FOR COOKING SHOWS.
And I’ll admit, when it’s time for screen time, my 2-year old will sometimes choose Chopped over Mickey Mouse! But hey, all that cooking, whipping and baking is food science in the making.
If your kids like watching cooking shows too, embrace it! They’re learning about chemistry, practicing their math skills and watching mini-experiments right before their very eyes. Talk to them about what’s happening when a soufflé fluffs (or falls) or why adding a potato to overly salty soup will make it palatable again. Even simple things explaining what happens when water boils or why toast burns are ways to sneak in math and science.
And when the show is over, head to the kitchen and whip up a recipe together. Chip Donohue, Ph.D., Director of the Technology in Early Childhood Center at Chicago’s Erikson Institute, explains how cooking together continues STEM learning. “Following a recipe, mixing, measuring, and learning about proportions and conversions are just some of the cooking activities that relate to STEM.”
2. BETTER YET, GO SHOPPING FOR INGREDIENTS TOGETHER.
The grocery store is full of wonderful opportunities to stretch your child’s STEM skills. Talk about the difference between fruits and vegetables. Blow their minds by revealing fun facts, like a cucumber is actually a fruit! Count the number of cereal boxes that have an animal on the box or count all the varieties of tomatoes. (Why are there SO many varieties of tomatoes anyways? Think about it. Talk about it. Make theories together.)
3. LET YOUR KID BECOME THE TECH SUPPORT PERSON IN YOUR FAMILY.
How? Ask them to read owner’s manuals then walk you through setting up the next gadget in your house. Or put them in charge of conducting the experiments found on this FREE STEM EXPLORATION SHEET. They’ll love being treated as the expert and telling you what to do. (Ha! What kid wouldn’t love that?)
And if you or your partner
are handy, bring your kids along on the next leaky faucet fix. Show them the
ropes and let them help. Ask questions like, “what do you think we need to do
4. SPEAKING OF ASKING QUESTIONS… ASK A LOT OF THEM.
A big part of developing STEM skills is encouraging your kids to be inquisitive, make predictions and figure out a new plan if an original idea doesn’t work. Cora Carey, STEM educator for the Boston Children’s Museum, suggests that asking your kids their thoughts on everyday life concepts is one way to do this. For example, “How long does a red light last? Let’s time it.” or “If we roll two different-sized balls down the staircase, which will hit the ground first?”
Keep in mind, the answers don’t have to be accurate, it’s all about empowering your kids to think critically and create a theory. And of course, having fun!
Speaking of fun… Dazzling Travis is now available for purchase! Follow along on Instagram April 7-14, 2019 to catch Maria’s Virtual Tour for your chance to win prizes and score lesson plans exclusive to this new book. Search #DazzlingTravis or follow @mariadismondybooks for more.
What are some fun ways you sneak in STEM education? Tell us in the comments below.
Meg Keys is an award-winning writer with nearly
20-years professional writing experience. She is fueled by her love of food,
art and fluffy pets and lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and son. Find
her at megkeys.com.