STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education has become the buzzword for educators around the country. They see the effect that technology has on their students, so they naturally implement it in their classrooms. Even if they don't have the most up-to-date technological gadget due to budget restraints, they help children to see that STEM is everywhere. But is it in the HOME? Of course it is! Here's how you can support your child's education in school while showing them that STEM is actually everywhere.
H - Help your child to see that everything they touch has been the result of a technological advance. If you've watched "How It's Made" on TV, you'll see that assembly lines have evolved considerably since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Robots control more part assembly than human interaction. The next time your child picks up a toy, investigate that toy with thought-provoking questions like, "How do you think this was made?" Then see if you can find the answer on the Internet. Or you might pose this problem, "This toy cost $30. I make $12 an hour. How long did I have to work in order to get this toy for you?" This helps your child to appreciate the value of a dollar and your time - great character education!
O - Offer choices. When a child is offered choices for things as simple as which breakfast cereal, that child is learning to make decisions that will be helpful later in life. Research shows that people who are capable of making decisions are more creative. Creative people are more likely to be successful in their chose careers because they can solve problems that occur in their workspaces. These choices, however, should be guided at first. Instead of asking what your child wants for dinner, give two choices that you can both accept: "Do you want string beans or peas with your ham and potatoes?" That way your child sees that a vegetable is a given, but he has the choice regarding which veggie. Gradually advance to more difficult decisions and watch your child grow in the ability to decide for his or her own.
M - Make things ... not just a plane from a kit, but things that require elementary engineering thought. Instead of buying greeting cards to send to Grandma, your child might make one that is a bit more complicated than a single folded piece of paper with crayon drawings. Or your child might need a ramp for cars to travel through a maze. What might he or she use to create that ramp and maze? Help your child to see that someone somewhere invented the ramp and maze in a purchased kit. That might be a future career for your child if this captures his or her interest.
E - Encourage safe exploration. Modern children are barraged with a myriad of cautions: Don't touch that because it has germs on it, Hold my hand so a stranger doesn't nab you, Don't swing too high because you might lose your grip and fall. The list goes on and on until children see their world as unsafe and unworthy of their exploration. Giving them simple safety guidelines will help them to explore their environment with your safety thought in the back of their minds. Eventually, they will learn to wash their hands after touching that germy surface, or make sure that you are close by in a crowded situation, or will hold on securely while swinging. Letting children explore their environment within reason also encourages creativity and problem-solving ability, which is necessary in today's technological society.
Remember to remain positive with your children, telling them what you DO expect from them rather than what you DON'T expect. That way they know what you want rather than what you don't want. And help them to see that STEM is everywhere, even at HOME!
Entelechy Education, LLC supports STEM-C® - the link between STEM, Character Education, and Language Literacy. Play our games to learn STEM at HOME!
Author: Renee Heiss