Moving into the next decade and beyond is a scary thought to some, while others are excited to rush into a new world of science and technology. We know that STEM careers will increase by 14% over the next few years so how can we create a new generation of STEM thinkers to take us into this era?
Here are our top 3 tips for parents!
Lesson 1: Children are curious by nature. They like to ask questions. Let your child formulate an answer on his/her own by responding with open ended questions. It makes me crazy when I hear adults answering questions and not giving a child the opportunity to think. I recently was in a classroom with an engineer who was doing an activity and a student asked why the chemical reaction was happening the engineer answered and the students were quiet….UGH! Instead he could have said what do you think is happening? We know he knows the answer, he’s the one with the degree in chemical engineering for crying out loud but that doesn’t help the student become a critical thinker.
Here’s a quick example of what I’m talking about and letting a 3 year old child think.
Sadie: Mommy, why is the grass green?
Mom: Is the grass always green?
Sadie: No, it’s brown sometimes.
Mom: Why does it turn brown?
Sadie: I don’t know, maybe it’s thirsty.
You get my drift now right? Let them ask and draw their own conclusions and no, I’m not saying you should let them think the grass is green because food coloring was poured on it.
Exposure- How did you learn to change a flat tire? I had a flat on the side of the road and had to do it myself, that was sucky exposure but exposure all the same.
How do we expect children to understand the world if we don’t show it to them? Local museums with STEM spaces are a fantastic place to spend the day.
How about a school that is hosting a robotics competition? Did you know you can go as a spectator? Find what local schools or educational programs, contest or seminars you can discover to give your child the advantage of theses exclusive experiences.
You can tie just about anything to a STEM without a lot of preparation. One of the easiest activities to do is at dinner time- cooking is full of math and chemistry. Take the time to let your child measure out ingredients, read the recipe out loud, talk about what you can substitute in the recipe, the conversation is endless.
One all-time great activity to include your child in is grocery shopping. Yes, you read that right. Give your child a list with a few items and have them tell you which one was the better buy. They can compare ounces and prices and read off the pricing label on the shelf. Plus it keeps them busy and you can get your shopping done much quicker!
STEM Thinkers, will change the world.
STEM is about project based learning and solving real world problems. In order to be good at it, we have let children explore and be curious about the world around them. How are you helping your children become STEM thinkers? Share your thoughts and ideas with us on our social networks! We would love to connect with you.