What is –er land? Quite simply, it’s the urge to be bett-er, pretti-er, smart-er, funni-er, strong-er or even tall-er than everyone else. We’re all guilty of this when we strive to climb to the top of the corporate ladder (did you notice that ladder also ends in –er?) Struggling to open the door to –er land will usually end in dissatisfaction, depression, and unhappiness.
What is the opposite of –er land? STEM land! In STEM land, children don’t form comparisons with other children. They learn because they want to expand their knowledge of FUNdamental concepts. There is no competition in STEM land because everyone learns at his or her own pace. There is much satisfaction and self-esteem in STEM land because children discover truths about the way the universe works through experimentation and discovery.
How can you encourage children to enter STEM land? Follow these easy steps:
1. Allow children to have time to explore. Over-scheduling a child’s day generally leads to a meltdown by 7pm! Soccer practice, piano lessons, baseball games, and a scheduled time for doing homework don’t leave much time for creative exploration of their natural world. (SCIENCE)
2. Encourage reading and journaling. Take your kids to the library so they can read how their computers work. Give them a journal with age-appropriate treasure hunt open-ended questions when they go. Examples: How does a keyboard link to the screen? How does the Internet arrive in your router? (TECHNOLOGY)
3. Unplug! Turn off the TV, hide the cell phones, and don’t charge the tablets. When children find they don’t have electronics as a backup plan for filling their time, they will naturally turn toward exploration. Replace the electronics with building blocks of all kinds and watch your child design and engineer new structures. Take a picture of those buildings or vehicles and keep an album of their accomplishments. (ENGINEERING)
4. Make a math wall. What’s that? It’s any wall with a bulletin board (or it could be the side of your refrigerator) where you post daily math questions that relate to their lives. The key to success with the math wall is relating it to their interests. For example, if one child enjoys baseball, post a question about computing the ERA of a favorite player. If another child likes to help you cook, ask a question about how many tablespoons of water will fit into a one-cup measure. Remember, there will be no deadlines or competition with the math wall. When a child answers a question, put up the next one, whether it is one hour, or one week later! Or simply post a weekly question. (MATHEMATICS)
Entry into STEM land and out of –er land can be fun and interesting with a little creativity and the ability to let your children explore their world in their own way.
Get a FREE copy of FUNtastic Family STEM Activities at www.EnteleTrons.com. Explore the website further and see if you can find the free e-book!
Author: Renee Heiss