Those of you who keep up with our education system know that advancements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are increasing. With these changes, our education system has updated with a STEM curriculum to keep up with the times.
For those parents that don’t know what STEM is – don’t worry. You’re at just the right place. Keep reading to learn about STEM and its essential benefits for elementary kids.
Why is STEM Vital for Elementary Kids
Introducing STEM is vital while a child is developing foundational education habits in their first years of elementary schooling. STEMs lessons incorporate integrated mathematics, sciences, engineering and technology; while introducing young minds to schools of scientific linear thinking, creative problem solving, inventiveness, and instilling the importance of collaboration and teamwork.
Elementary level STEM education includes customized lesson plans that teach fundamental coursework while introducing students to the various fields of study and potential occupations a STEM education will offer. The objective of educators is not to force new thoughts and ideas on students, but to allow the children to grow interests in subjects organically and developing their systematic approaches to problem-solving.
According to a recently published resource, only 29% of K-5 educators reported to teaching science two days a week or less.
Many researchers say that this simply isn’t enough as the younger a child is introduced STEM, the higher the probability a student will enter a graduate-level STEM degree after graduation.
Although STEM isn’t as prevalent as it should be right now, parents can take steps to feed their child’s curiosity by introducing basic math and science at home during free time, which we will cover some basic methods in the next section.
Tips for Teaching Math and Science at Home
The study of mathematics and sciences goes far beyond numbers, hypothesis and data, in a sense, both subjects center around making sense of our planet and the universe.
The sooner a child is shown the fundamentals of math and science, the sooner a child will begin to ask their questions and draw their conclusions. Here are several tips for educating your child in math and science at home.
- Feed Curiosity- A child’s mind is like a sponge, there’s an entire world of wonder for a child. Inspire a sense of wonder and awe for your child by continually introducing new things and taking the opportunity to teach a lesson. For example, take your child on a walk and identify plants, show them how to use technology, etc.
- Counting- Understanding of mathematics starts with knowing numbers; there are countless opportunities to count in a day. Keep it simple and fun, introduce simple one through ten counting games, then work your way up the line.
- Use Your Environment- You already have all the tools you need to begin your child’s instruction. Lessons are limited to the imagination, use coins, beans, passing cars, trees. Don’t forget to improvise!
- Encourage Questions- One of the fundamental tenants of math and science is to question everything. Asking questions introduces critical, processed thinking. When your child asks a question, ask some follow up questions in return to make more sense of the problem. Following a process such as the scientific method is an excellent tool for this tip.
- Make Learning a Daily Activity- Make learning a daily activity, incorporate math and science into everyday life. Play games like “You ate half your snack, how much do you have left?” or “How many maple trees are at the park?” Small games like this will make learning habitual and fun.
As we enter the next industrial revolution, our children’s education must be tailored to keep up with the times. If you have any questions on STEM benefits or how to help introduce your child to STEM topics at home, don’t hesitate to reach out.