STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. With technology a growing part of today’s world; it’s important for kids to gain a healthy knowledge and understanding of STEM. I love active, hands on learning! It encourages the use of multiple senses, and makes memorizing things easier. There’s no reason STEM cannot be completely hands on, with ample practical learning involved.
10 Ways to Teach STEM
1. Join a 4-H Club
The 4-H science program offers youth to experience STEM through fun hands on activities and projects. Focus areas include robotics, biotechnology, veterinary science and more! 4-H inspires leadership by allowing young adults to take charge of their STEM projects, meet deadlines, and work with their peers. It’s the perfect club to join to encourage these traits in your children!
2. Learn about distance and mathematical equations with a life sized Angry Birds game
No doubt your kids have played or at least heard of Angry Birds sometime in their life. Learn how this school teaches velocity and distance with a real life version of Angry Birds! For a smaller project, you can also create a mini version.
3. Learn about binary codes with bracelets
Create these birthday bracelets inspired by binary codes. Binary codes are how computers transmit information all with the numbers 0 and 1. Complete with a free printable, this activity was designed for ages 6 and 4, but can easily be used with older grades, as a basic introduction to binary numbers with their birthdays.
4. Study weather
Study the weather with these 50 science/STEM weather activities. From how ice grows to how rainbows appear; use these hands on tutorials as guides for student led learning.
5. Get coding!
The best way to practice coding is well, start coding! Code Academy is a fantastic free and easy program that offers courses in multiple coding languages; and relies more on actually coding than reading endless tutorials.
6. Involve their favorite films
7. Read books and movies involving STEM
Anyone interested in STEM knows the road to success is often incredibly rough and full of challenges. One of my all time favorite movies is Disney’s Meet the Robinsons. Not only is it an entertaining kids movie full of STEM, but it’s packed full of valuable lessons keep moving forward an important lesson in STEM and in life. Other movies, such as Big Hero 6 and The LEGO Movie, can also create an interest in STEM.
Biographies of inventors, such as Who Was Albert Einstein? and the gorgeously illustrated Young Thomas Edison, show the limitless possibilities of STEM in real life situations.
4-H Also has STEM Curriculum backed by more that 110 top tier universities!
8. Create a lemonade stand
Help kids understand the more practical points of mathematics financials by creating a lemonade stand! With this free printable pack, learn about profit and loss, while growing entrepreneurship skills.
With STEM, education is limitless. Here are 30+ ways to teach science without a textbook. Shows like How It’s Made, and the limitless number of museums, aquariums, and zoos make science painless. More often than not, resources for an intense science project can be found in your kitchen or backyard!
10. Involve technology
Often, technology is looked upon as a negative in our society. For me; the opposite couldn’t be more true. I’ve learned more about history from Pinterest and mathematics from Google than strictly nonInternet learning could ever offer. Don’t be afraid of using apps or YouTube channels to encourage STEM learning! STEM can encourage educational technology use; plus encourages a healthy balance and moderation.
School based learning can often be viewed as useless but STEM proves just the opposite. As kids explore STEM; they begin to learn practical life skills; curiosity, creativity, communication, problem solving, and leadership. They learn how to learn, and teach themselves; a vital skill in college. They gain valuable skills as they become computer savvy; a must in today’s world.
Kids and Teens Using STEM to change the world:
- Fourteen year old Robert Nay from Utah, who created his first website in third grade. By fourteen, he created the app Bubble Ball; which was downloaded over two million times in two weeks, and even knocked Angry Birds out of Apple’s coveted first place spot in the Free Apps section.
- Brandon Boynton, a seventeen year old from Indiana, used his self coding knowledge to create the BullyBox App, an app that allows students to anonymously report bullying.
- Indian teen Shubham Banerjee recently made national headlines for creating a Braille printer out of LEGOs at age thirteen.
- A trio of ninth grade girls from Ireland won Google’s Science Fair in 2014. With homemade equipment; they conducted germination and growth experiments for eleven months. Their ultimate goal? Help the global food crisis.
- Through talks, demonstrations, workshops and interviews, Thaddeus Hughes, 2016 STEM Pillar Winner, has engaged more than 6,000 youth in the wonders of science. He has been a mentor for FIRST Lego League and the Illinois State Robotics Competition for four years. Simultaneously, he developed an afterschool program through the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension called Spinning Robots in which he taught 50 middle schoolers basic circuitry and how to build simple robots.
Nominate a young STEM leader you know in your community! Click here to find out how you can empower them to lead the next generation.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 4-H. The opinions and text are all mine.