02 June 2018
STEM education is becoming more and more important – and with good reason. These are necessary skills in today’s tech-savvy world, and they represent a pathway to some of the most in-demand jobs that our economy has to offer. How can you help encourage (or spark) an interest in these fields with your child? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, surgeon, or coding guru to do it! Take a look at the below simple tips to engage your child in STEM learning outside of the classroom.
1. Encourage questioning – Is your child always asking “why”’ and “how”? That’s a STEM mindset—and it can be the beginning of a drive to solve important challenges like protecting our environment, curing diseases, or engineering new clean energy technology. Even if the questions seem relentless at times, embrace this curiosity. Take the time to explain the things that you understand, and when your child poses a question that you don’t have an answer to, look up the answer together. Who knows—it may spur some new interests for you too!
2. Give them a trial – STEM learning can be stimulating and fun. In the learning process, your kids will design a solution based upon their understanding and then test it to see if it works. They will experience failure and need to rebuild or even redesign. But that’s what the stimulation and fun come. Kids want to solve the problem by their own and we allow them to fail and redo after guiding questions.
3. Visit science museum – What better place to allow your child to get up close and hands on with science than a science museum? And they’re not difficult to find. These museums typically include a variety of exhibits that explain complex and fascinating science and technology concepts in creative and accessible ways—giving visitors the chance to run their own experiments, play with gadgets, or check out live and video-based presentations. Most of these institutions have great websites with additional resources, activities, and ideas to inspire STEM interest as well.
4. Seek out STEM extracurricular activities – Extracurricular activities, even for young students, don’t have to be limited to sports or performing arts—there are plenty of STEM-based options too. STEM has a wide variety of topics including Robotics, Technology & Coding, Smart City & Energy. All can be designed on solving real-life problems based so kids will always have fun and challenge in these activities.
5. Make career connections – One of the most important actions in fostering an interest in STEM is showing children where it can lead them. So, make an effort to expose them to different options for a career in STEM. If you’re in a STEM field yourself, bring your child to work with you one day. Have friends or family members in a STEM field? Ask them to talk to your child about what their jobs are like, or even set up a job shadow if your child has a strong interest.