AMUSEMENT PARKS are filled with opportunities to explore STEM concepts. When you travel as a family unit, ask meaningful questions like, "Why does the roller coaster go faster downhill than uphill?" Or "Why does the log flume ride float in the water, but needs a ratchet system when going up or down an incline?" Or how about a math question: "If each car of a Ferris wheel holds four people, what is the capacity of the entire ride?" You might even come prepared with a scavenger hunt depending on the ages and abilities of your children. Make a list and have the kids tear into the side of the paper when they find an item. No pencil is necessary and it will fit into their pockets!
MOVIE THEATERS present another stimulus for STEM memories. Instead of simply watching the preview and advertisements, see if your children can figure out how the images get on the screen. Ask them to estimate the number of people that the theater can hold. Get creative with your questions during the previews. After the movie, ask STEM questions that could be related to the movie you saw. For example, if you saw an animated feature, talk about the cells that the artists needed to create the movie. Movie time is always good family time, but when coupled with STEM conversation, it will become a strong STEM memory for your children.
LIBRARIES are naturally loaded with STEM opportunities. Help your child to find "his or her" section filled with books on topics of interest. For example, if your child likes animals, ask the librarian to help find the biology section. Or maybe your child likes cars. The library will have books on how cars are made on an assembly line, or how to repair a car. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to transform a simple library visit to a STEMtastic visit! Literature isn't always fiction. In fact, the emphasis in most schools is now on nonfiction.
GROCERY STORES help your child learn money management. Give your kids a few coupons and show them that the dollar amount may be doubled depending on your store. Tell them they can have the amount that the store doubled. This will keep your kids busy in the store and will teach them to manage their money. Take this one step further and engage Entelechy Education's STEM-C concept. The C stands for Character. When your children earn money from their trip to the store with you, see if they will save 1/3, spend 1/3 and give 1/3 to the charity of their choice. This is good planning that will serve them well into their adulthood. Before you go, check out the recipes in Everybody Cooks! STEM Facts and Recipes for Family Cooperation and Healthier Eating - Holiday Favorites Edition. There you'll find fun family recipes that the whole family can prepare together, creating STEM memories at home, too..
SPORTS EVENTS also have a wonderful basis for STEM education. Whether you are at a game watching the action, or your young athletes are actively participating, find ways to insert STEM education into the conversation either at the venue or on the ride home. Consider topics like velocity of the ball, effect of wind, technology on the scoreboard, or muscle strength from exercise. These are all valuable STEM conversations that your child will remember at a later time.
No matter where you are, or what you do, if you want your children to embrace STEM as a career, include a STEM-C topic into the conversation. The memories you create will be lifelong links to the fun they had as children learning about STEM in everyday life.