FIVE WAYS TO HELP MINORITY KIDS PARTICIPATE IN AND LOVE STEM EDUCATION AND ACTIVITIES.
The importance of science and technology to the world cannot be overemphasized. The benefits of science and technology are evident in virtually every part of the world. Children are naturally inquisitive and curious beings, and this characteristic of theirs can be harnessed to build their interest in science and technology with the aid of STEM programs. STEM programs are designed to teach children the practical aspects of the topics that they learn in school. It is essential to train little children, especially minority groups who may not have the opportunity to attend a school with a STEM curriculum.
STEM is an acronym for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. These are science subjects that form the basis for whatever science course a child decides to study. The importance of STEM education in a child’s life cannot be overemphasized, particularly a child who has an interest in science-related subjects from a young age. Minority children, especially, may not have the requirements and exposure required to build their interests in science. It is, therefore, necessary for STEM programs to be developed in these minority communities so that those children can benefit from them. A STEM-based curriculum helps children to learn and develop their scientific abilities by providing them with practical knowledge. Research shows that giving children an early education in science and the other STEM fields increases their learning abilities. Not all schools have a STEM-based curriculum, but it is essential that they have one. If your kid attends a school that does not have STEM-based curriculums, and you have noticed that the child has a love for science, you should help the child build on this passion with various methods. Also, there are various STEM educational activities in different areas, and your child could benefit from one of the ones closest to you. Parents and teachers alike have a significant role to play in helping children develop an interest in science-related courses. You can help children develop their interests in science effectively in a way that they would enjoy using the following methods:
- Build the child’s curiosity and knowledge with the use of STEM-related books: Since children are naturally inquisitive and love stories, it is always easy to engage their interest and broaden their knowledge with books. You can also carry out simple science experiments with them at their level. By participating in these kinds of experiments with children and making the process fun, their interests would be aroused in the STEM fields. Also, taking children on outdoor explorations with lessons on the benefits of science enables them to learn about various natural materials and the roles that these materials play in science.
- Engage the child in play that is vital to building science skills: Children play a lot, and it is possible to help them learn while playing. Such kind of play could be exploratory play, free play, or pretend play. Pretend play, especially, helps them to use their imagination while exploratory play involves them carrying out mini experiments at their level by taking things apart. In addition, children should be encouraged to ask the “how” and “what” questions on which science is based as opposed to asking “why” questions.
- Make use of places that children enjoy going to help them learn: Children enjoy going on camping trips where they would get to meet new friends and bond with old ones. A significant benefit of summer camps is that they expose children to the practical work of the topics they have been taught in school. An example of a summer camp that benefits children by teaching them science-related activity is i2 camp.
- Use technological related activities to teach them about technology: Technological activities enable children to use technological ideas for fun but far more than that, it also helps them to apply these ideas for logical benefits. Activities that could help children learn technology include teaching children to use building blocks as it helps them to think critically in order to determine where each block would go. Also, you can make use of scavenger hunt maps to teach them how to locate objects using maps. Again, you can involve them in logic games, brainteasers, and puzzles because these games help children to learn how to solve problems by making them think critically.
- Teach children about engineering with the use of innovative ideas and experiments: It is important to begin teaching children the basics of engineering even though they may not come across the course until they are in a more advanced class. Engineering helps children to learn how things work. You can make it fun by teaching them using various experiments like the one involving pulleys and levers. You could also carry out experiments that show them how to build ramps and how to design and plan structures using blocks.
STEM education helps to reduce the gender and ethnic disparities in science fields. For instance, more women are now involved in the science and math fields than ever before. In the same vein, more individuals from minority groups are now participating and excelling quite remarkably in STEM-related fields. It is vital that, aside from teachers who teach children STEM-related courses in schools, parents should also help in fostering their child’s exposure to STEM by following the steps listed above to enable their children to develop their interests in STEM fields. Parents can also find available STEM activities for children in their area through the link below:
Various STEM-themed books are available for teaching children about these vital subjects from an early age. Such books contain enjoyable science-related stories and project ideas that are bound to arouse a child’s curiosity and kindle an interest in science experiments. Examples of STEM-themed books include:
- Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty.
- Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty.
- Peg + Cat: The Pizza Problem by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson.
- How Machines Work: Zoo Break by David Macaulay
- Nick and Tesla Series by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith.
- Mad Scientist Series – Benton – Franny K. Stein
- Math-terpieces by Greg Tang
These are just a few of STEM-related books, and there are tons of such books with which you can teach and interest your child in STEM-related courses so they can continue to build their curiosity for those areas and contribute to science in the future.
Our little guy loves anything STEM. We started exposing him to LEGOS and STEM related toys and activities when he was about 2 years old and he loves it. We also have him participate in a STEM program in our area where he attends once a month and we supplement his STEM learning through other sources.
I would love to know how you are engaging or exposing your kids to STEM. I believe the more we share with each other the more we benefit from our combined parenting toolbox.