STEM is more than just the subjects the acronym represents.
STEM is about inquiry, critical thinking, exploration, and discovery. These facets of learning are essential in any STEM subject and help to drive a thirst for understanding, creativity, and problem solving.
You can nurture your child’s interest in STEM at home regardless of if your child is a homeschool student or attends a private or public school.
Simple steps to nurture STEM at home
- Get out and expose your child to nature, museums, large cities and small towns, libraries and more. Taking a hike on a trail, walking alongside a stream, and listening to owls hoot in a forest are great ways of connecting your child to the joys of science. Visit your local museum and learn about how technology has changed over time and has influenced society. Find the perfect rhythm in animal calls or car honks! There are many ways to expose your child to STEM.
- Pick something—anything—and dig deeper! What is it? What does it look like, feel like, smell like, sound like? Can you reproduce or recreate it? How can you make it…bigger, smaller, rounder, louder, better, more efficient? Imagination and curiosity are essential in STEM, help your child to discover and wonder with everything around.
- As your child uses imagination and creativity during play, relate back to real life. Grand plans to fly to the moon? Great! Start small, can your child create a design to get a paper plane to fly at least for 30 seconds?
- Critical Thinking. Think like an engineer! Follow the steps in the engineering design process when tackling an issue or before designing a project: (1) Define the problem, (2) Imagine the solution(s), (3) Generate a plan, (4) Create the item, (5) Test and evaluate the item, (6) Improve your creation, and (7) Share your creation/knowledge with others!
Continue to encourage your child’s natural curiosity and initiatives in all that you do! Find opportunities to investigate and explore at home, in your backyard, and beyond!