STEM… Why Is It Important? (And How to Incorporate it at Home!)
Last week was STEM week at Island Prep! I suppose this means it’s finally time for me to figure out what this acronym is all about. STEM, STEAM, STREAM… who can keep them all straight? And furthermore, why is any of this important?
What is STEM, anyway?
STEM is simply an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. A STEM-based curriculum helps prepare our children for a future that is increasingly technology-driven. The goal is to encourage a whole new generation to be entrepreneurial and innovative. Sounds exciting, right? But what exactly does that mean? Well, it means the skills students learn through these programs will help them to become strong critical thinkers, resilient, creative and curious, among other things. These traits will be beneficial, whether our kiddos end up being the next Steve Jobs or not. STEM education tries to make these subjects engaging and interesting, using hands-on activities and real-world scenarios to get the students involved.
While schools are doing what they can to provide STEM education, these types of activities can be easily replicated at home as well. Science, technology, engineering and math can be easily incorporated into creative projects that are so fun, children don’t even realize they are (gasp!) learning! (Side note, this technique is also how I get myself to work out…sign up for a class that is so fun I don’t even realize I am (gasp!) exercising!)
How can I include STEM at home?
There are a million ideas for STEM projects on Pinterest (don’t forget to give us a follow here) but let me share a few examples from last week at Island Prep.
The first grade class read the story of Rapunzel, but instead of waiting for a prince to rescue her, the students brainstormed ways for her to escape on her own! They came up with the most creative ideas, from slides to zip lines to elevators!
The second graders paired up with the fourth grade class to invent a vessel that would protect an egg dropped from a ladder. The students created parachutes and padded vessels to save their precious cargo.
Long story short, you can turn nearly anything into a STEM-related project! Provide some raw materials and challenge your child to create something totally new. Or propose a problem for them to solve. Our post about Explorations can get you started with a list of supplies that are helpful to have at your house to get the creative juices flowing.
Visit us on social @islandprep and tell us what STEM activity you are working on at your house!
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