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Schools around the world are more interested in STEM than ever before. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.
Children like STEM because it means building fun projects. But there are more benefits of STEM than just fun.
Take a look at this overview of how your child can benefit from STEM learning
STEM is Patriotic
The United States invested $540 million into STEM learning in 2019. This major investment showed just how important STEM is to the country.
STEM helps America remain competitive in the race for innovation. No innovation can happen unless students understand the basics of math and science.
For example, being able to put satellites into orbit means protecting our land from spies. Satellites can also detect where our enemies are most of the time.
STEM careers also help our nation find off-planet resources. We can avoid using up a limited supply of natural resources by mining asteroids.
Encouraging a love of science in young children brings hope that they will one-day help society as a whole.
STEM is just as much about discovery as it is about defense. With everyone’s sensitive data available in the cloud, there has to be a plan in place to protect it.
The U.S. must have future generations that are capable of both detect and prevent breaches from sensitive data.
STEM Helps Society
The benefits of STEM also extend into everyday life. When children begin to think both creatively and scientifically, they look at problems in new ways.
At the Georgia Institute of Technology, students compete in a contest called Inventure. The student that best solves a social problem using a prototype wins.
For example, some nasal medications lead to addictions. A student in the contest designed a way for doctors to monitor patient doses remotely.
The winner of this contest gets startup funding to build a real version of the product.
Programs like Inventure motivate students of all ages to use science to help others. Public schools partner with programs like this to bring STEM learning to students of all income levels.
Learning STEM gives students the tools they need to take the right measurements, understand how components work together, and predict what the results might be.
STEM Builds Critical Thinking
One of the biggest personal benefits of STEM learning is that it helps kids improve their critical thinking skills. The subjects related to STEM all depend on the ability to use logic and creativity together to solve problems.
With STEM projects, children learn trial and error and that solving equation doesn’t end with finding one answer. Encourage your children to not just hunt for the solution but explore new ways to solve the problem.
STEM encourages children to use the scientific method to find these new ways. It’s a constant question and answer session that makes students ripe for innovation later in their careers.
By introducing STEM to children early, you help them practice a new way of thinking. One that merges imagination with an understanding of practical concepts.
This is why rote memorization is now discouraged in an elementary age math curriculum. Students do need math facts, but understanding the conceptual relationships between numbers sparks more curiosity.
Help your child gain confidence by learning the critical thinking skills brought on by STEM learning.
Fun STEM Activities
The best STEM activities keep students engaged. Think of ways to incorporate hands-on project-based learning to promote STEM learning at home.
For example, teaching kids STEM with drones brings the classroom outside where students can see their predictions in action. Drones provide real-time feedback for students learning to use math to calculate flight paths and practice soft landings.
High school students can advance their knowledge of physics by connecting the performance of the drone to Bernoulli’s principle, angular momentum, thrust, and drag.
Another fun STEM activity for kids is creating a cloud in a jar. This is a science-based activity that teaches how condensation, water cycles and states of matter help to create the clouds in the sky.
You’ll need water, a jar and hairspray to experiment with the right combinations to create a cloud in your jar. Compare the behavior of each ingredient to what’s present in our atmosphere.
On a foggy or cloudy day, children should take their project outdoors to make comparisons of how their project does or doesn’t resemble real clouds.
Preschool-age children might explore STEM learning by making slime. Slime is a great learning activity that involves following a recipe to make a pile of reusable goop at the end.
Younger children get an idea of how ingredients can interact together to create something new. As they get older, adding more properties to the slime increases their level of engagement.
For example, magnetic and glow-in-the-dark slime are both great options for showing scientific properties using a toy.
STEM learning, when made interactive, take math facts and scientific vocabulary to a whole new level. Leave projects open-ended to help kids find fun ways to interact with their projects.
Benefits of STEM Learning
There are many benefits of STEM learning for children who want to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM career fields are growing much faster than any other industry.
These careers require high levels of imagination and confidence to be successful. As you encourage your child to learn through play, you’re giving them the skills they need to be competitive in any STEM career field.
For more information and tips, check our blog for updates.