Ways to Encourage Your Child to Get Interested in STEM

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Ways to Encourage Your Child to Get Interested in STEM

Encourage STEM

Many children begin to lose interest in STEM(science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects as they approach middle school. These are often seen as difficult or boring areas but as parents we can encourage our children to become and stay interested in STEM. With a few simple adjustments to how they approach these areas, they can grow to enjoy these fields of study.

Simple Ways to Get them Interested in STEM

  • Show them how STEM applies to their everyday life. Math and science can seem daunting when in a book or on paper but when used in cooking or baking it becomes fun. Use these enjoyable moments to explain to them the science behind water boiling, food burning, and mixing ingredients to create something new. This is also a great way to explain how math helps us when doubling a recipe and measuring ingredients. Some other areas that they can see these fields in action include music, poetry, shopping, and banking. Take time to explain the facts behind these activities to show them how they apply.
  • Make STEM hands on. Reading about science, technology, engineering and mathematics is not something most kids enjoy doing. However, when they can get immerse themselves in activities related to these topics, they begin to enjoy them. Some simple ways to get them involved hands on with STEM include visiting museums (children’s, science, history, etc.), going for nature walks, visiting zoos, playing STEM related games (even Minecraft has math properties and some children even begin learning to code), and watching science related shows (watch these shows with your children so you can answer any questions they have.)
  • Celebrate the Process. These fields are often considered difficult and many children become discourage very easily when they don’t bring home the grade they wanted. Instead of pointing out the bad grade, work with them on ways they can improve and praise the progress that they make. Make this a teaching moment by explaining to them how nothing was created or developed perfectly on the first try and many times the greatest discoveries were accidents.
  • Get them engaged in Competitions. Kids are very resourceful and when given a challenge they will work to solve it. Talk to them about a problem they would like to solve and encourage them to try and solve it. Local science fairs and clubs are a great way for them to display the work they have done and discover the work other children their age have done. If they want to reach outside their local boundaries they can look for larger competitions like the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

Young Scientist Challenge

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge has been going on since 1999 with the simple mission to foster a new generation of scientists. It is the nation’s premier science competition for children in grades 5th – 8th. Through the program, young inventors have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work closely with a 3M Scientist Mentor, compete for $25,000, and earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”

2015 Young Scientist Challenge

For more information on the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, including submission guidelines, tips from previous winners, and complete rules visit the Young Scientist Challenge. Submissions are being accepted thru April 13, 2016.

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  1. says

    I have been touring preschools all week so I totally understand how important it is to start them off on the right track with STEM! Luckily my son seems to enjoy math and science right now. We try to make it fun and interesting.

  2. says

    Currently our son is in a private Montessori preschool but with his love of math and science I have a feeling we will be a STEM family soon. I love this concept and wish it was more popular when I was in school

  3. says

    I love the idea behind this! I know I lost interest in a lot of these fields once I was in middle school and especially high school. I wish I wouldn’t have though! I’ll have to keep this in mind once our kids are old enough.

  4. says

    My son loves cooking. I will habe to talk to him more scientifically next time we cook together. I think it is a great idea to explain cooking and math and it might help him down the road.

  5. says

    I was definitely afraid of math and science as a kid but remember that the science fair, and the idea of a fun competition like you mentioned, gave the subject more of a purpose and me more of a drive. This is a really important topic, because if you avoid these subjects as a kid, you can have a phobia for life.

  6. says

    As a trained scientist (Physics/Biology major) I love this!!! My youngest stepdaughter will be going to fifth grade (ack how did that happen?) and this is SO important to us. Today she excitedly told us about what she learned in science today – eyeball stuff LOL. I’ve always loved the role Discovery Education plays in encouraging young learners and this program is wonderful. I’ll definitely be sharing your post!

  7. says

    I volunteer at a local Air Force Museum of Aviation with a huge STEM program. I see school children frequently and can attest to their excitement. STEM programs make learning fun. The competitions are amazing. The children come up with so much creativity!
    America’s Young Scientist Challenge sounds like an amazing opportunity for students!

  8. says

    I love these ideas to get kids more interested in Stem! I know with all the electronic distraction it can be hard to get the kid to focus on things. I know with how competitive my boys are they love the competitive aspect of science.

  9. says

    I have been pinning a bunch of STEM related activities the last little bit to encourage my kids here at home. They are very visual learners so if they can touch it and learn about it at the same time they are hooked. We also picked up Kiwi Crate which is very much STEM orientated and the kids are having a blast!

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