Two of the focuses of my blog are General Education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). It’s one thing to encourage participation in the STEMs, but another key is sparking that initial interest and growing it. Another is helping children find STEM subjects in school that they’ll enjoy. The following contributed post is entitled, Helping Children Find The Favourite STEM Subject.
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It goes without saying that one of the most significant advantages you can give your children is a solid foundation in STEM and everything it has to offer. Some careers and hobbies can enrich a child’s life beyond measure if you just have the right tools and knowledge to get them on their way. How exactly do we help our children find a love of STEM subjects? Can we leave it up to the education system of course, but is there more we can do to make sure our children have the best chance at learning everything available to them?
The first thing to remember when encouraging children to have an interest in any subject is to start them young. The most fantastic thing you can do is allow small children to experiment with textures and how things react with each other. A fantastic development for STEM in recent years has been the rise of slime and how young people are enthusiastically experimenting and sharing their results via Youtube without even realising they are sharing chemistry lessons without even realising. The best thing about this is that people are having fun with this subject and it’s a proven fact that children will always learn while having fun! Of course, the downside to this is the mess these experiments cause will always be inconvenient, but try not to squash their creativity too much. Science can be messy!
There are so many books available now with subjects such as construction, mathematics and a whole range of science subjects. A child that ‘hates’ Maths may have simply not been introduced in the correct way for them. There are easy to follow books with instructions on how to set up your own projects, and these can be fantastic to explore with your children. Why not take a leaf out of one of these books and set yourself a challenge and see what experiments you can come up with for your family to enjoy together? Ultimately if you show a keen interest and help by giving the children the tools, they need to learn you’re giving them a great gift.
There’s an excellent reason Lego is such a massive success, and it seems like nearly every household owns some at least, that’s because it’s simple, educational and fun! There is an incredible amount of choice available, and most children (and adults!) enjoy building these kits from scratch. This helps develop a fantastic sense of achievement and sets children up for a great start in life. As well as Lego there are some great kits available which include motors and electric circuits that show children exactly how things work. There are even Youtubers sharing information about how to run things from homemade lemon batteries, which, as with anything slightly strange, has captured the interest of many children around the world. All it takes is a spark of interest from the right child at the right time, and you’ll have a little scientist on your hands!
No doubt you will have a friend or family member that works in a STEM profession somewhere, so why not ask them to give your child an insight into what they do, and the many reasons children should study in this field. Sometimes it can be helpful to have an ‘insider’ view of the roles available, and talking to your child about their possible options when they are older, will make way for some potentially great decisions further down the line. Why not get your child to gather their STEM projects to take with them to your friend/ family members house so they can share their fun ideas and what they have learnt so far.
Of course, Youtube is full of ‘noise’, and we aren’t likely to get around that fact, but there are some great Youtubers explaining science and using it to entertain us via their videos. It’s not just all unboxing videos, if you look in the right places, there are some informative and fun videos that children will love to watch. It saves them watching adverts and adds something to their life, ultimately that’s education, but the delivery of this education will always make a difference to the children watching, and if you’re looking to avoid the need for
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In addition to the entertainment shows surrounding STEM subjects, including swimming pools full of jelly, there are instructional videos that will help with your maths project or your engineering questions too.
Children can be quite competitive, and quite often there are competitions at school, online or even via local companies that will capture the imagination of children, a little challenge goes a long way and the prizes awarded are a great motivator. Why not find out what local competitions are available near you and mention them to your child. They may decide it’s a great idea and will enter with little help. It may even lead to a life long interest in STEM if nothing else as well!
One way in which children usually find an interest in something they love is via exhibitions touring the country or at museums. Find out which exhibits are visiting your area and see if you get early bird tickets. From planetariums to science fairs, there is something for everyone. It’s also quite common for adults to have just as much fun as the children when it comes to events and exhibitions. These also allow for extra family time without distractions too, so not only are parents helping their children’s futures; it also brings the family closer together too!
Remember that helping your child find their interests is a worthwhile endeavour, and you will all be glad when they find their ‘thing’. Some people admittedly never find that one thing they love and that’s ok, but many people find STEM is the most fantastic thing in the world and can be used for so many good reasons. So know that if your child joins the world of STEM and you encouraged them to find that interest, then you’re doing great things in the world!