Make STEM Normal and Applicable to Everyday Life
Kids who don’t like math or science have come to think of them as bad words, much like the word “taxes” leaves a bad taste in many adults’ mouths. They don’t realize that outside of the classroom, these subjects live in every aspect of our lives. We can point that out in everyday activities, such as:
Cooking: Food science is the best science—experiments you can eat! Kids can learn chemistry, practice their math skills, and learn plant anatomy and other science lessons all from the comfort of your kitchen. Mental Floss has a roundup of 10 edible science experiments, this Kitchen Science lab book looks fun, and I’m going to do this Candy Chemistry kit with my daughter soon. But even normal daily things like explaining what happens when water boils, why toast burns, or why you should melt butter if you want the cookies to be chewy are ways to sneak in math and science without being pedantic.
Music lessons or reading poetry: Poetry is rhythmic and really just music in text form, and music is tightly connected to math. You might point out this fact to your kids or just let them practice and read while learn math unknowingly.
Shopping and banking: Any time you’re dealing with money is a good time to reinforce principles like the incredible effect of interest, how to make quick calculations and estimates in your head, or how to make comparisons (fractions and unit prices). Most of the math operations we do with our kids when dealing with money are simple, yet important ones. Teach your kid about money by acting like a bank.
Any of their current interests or activities: Just about any interest could be an opportunity to learn more about STEM. Google’s Made with Code, for example, has a project where your budding fashion designer can design a dress with LED lights. If your kids like cars, that’s an awesome vehicle (sorry for the pun) to demonstrate physics (Real World Physics Problems has a few resources along this line). If your kid plays or watches sports, lots of math and physics can come into play as well.
Know some cools tips on getting kids hands on learning S.T.E.M. education? Share them with us on our social media networks. We'd love to hear your stories!