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STEM Up!

Understanding STEM Education for Kids

In a world where we have Google assistant, Siri, or Alexa to answer our questions, education is no longer simply about knowing the answers. The modern world is more about knowing which questions to ask and how to think critically when a problem presents itself. This is where STEM Education plays a pivotal role for the kids.

What is STEM?

STEM stands for:

  • Science

  • Technology

  • Engineering

  • Mathematics

STEM is an education method that integrates all these subjects. It emphasizes bridging the learning gap, making children active learners from passive listeners. The focus is mainly on hands-on learning with real-world applications, which helps the children develop a variety of skill sets that go a long way, preparing them for the world.

How is STEM Education Different From the Conventional Education?

A key flaw which is not addressed in the current education system is problem solving. Letters and numbers are taught to kids in their very initial years, but they don’t understand why they’re being taught this and how this can be applied to life. When such doubts are not cleared during initial stages it eventually leads to a learning gap, and they are disconnected from the concepts.

STEM education helps students to work on applications, encouraging kids to experiment and discover things by themselves, rather than relying on what is written in the textbooks and believing it all. Critical thinking, logical analysis, ability to question and answer, are the keystones in STEM education. Eventually, kids become more inquisitive, which makes the learning process fun, relevant and everlasting.



When to Introduce STEM Learning for Kids?

By the age of eight years, most of the children develop their interest in technology. But the emphasis on rote learning and scoring well in exams takes their focus completely off divergent learning. Learning pace of the kids in their elementary years is unprecedented and cannot be the same ever in life again.

There should be more emphasis on STEM activities during the pre-school times, but the same should not be completely taken off when kids join school. The creativity of their mind should be encouraged and logical thinking must be inculcated with time.


STEM activities for kids


1. Science

Science broadly includes topics like biology, astronomy, physics, geology, and chemistry. Kids need not stay tethered to textbooks when it comes to studying science. Observe more than you read and look out for DIY science projects. Popular field trips could include planetariums, science museums, natural history museums, or even local state parks. As a bonus, many science and technology museums are now offering virtual tours! So cool!

2. Technology

Technology refers to basic hands-on science application to our daily life. Computer programming/Coding, AI, and Robotics are the basic technological skills which can give an edge to children over others of their age. Several online and offline courses or programs are available to teach children these basic technologies.

3. Engineering

Like technology, engineering applies scientific principles to solve real-life problems. Engineers plan and design items that kids encounter every day, like bridges and roads. By engaging them in DIY engineering projects, such as simple machines, making electrical circuits with wires and batteries, and with simple catapult activity, parents can introduce an element of fun, alongside providing knowledge. LEGO is an interesting game to teach elementary and middle-school aged children about technology, engineering, math, and building.

4. Mathematics

Kids start learning math the minute they learn numbers, and continue learning about geometry, algebra, calculus etc. Along with these, other mathematical skills include data analysis, abacus, and creating different shapes. Try working out beginners brain teasers, Sudoku, and other games that will get you moving, thinking and collaborating.

For extra out-of-classroom fun, math principles can be applied to other areas of STEM, and see how everything is connected.


Conclusion

For preparing today’s children to become the innovators of tomorrow, the crucial step is the STEM education program. Summer camps, after school programs, virtual courses, provide hands-on learning, exposure and real-world application necessary for developing an innovative mind. Take this important step so that your kid is ready for a lifetime of success.

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