Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of 3M. All opinions stated are my own.
Ways to Encourage Your Child to Get Interested in 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.
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.”
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.