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Last Updated on February 12, 2018 by Diane Hoffmaster
This post about STEM learning in kids was sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of America as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions are my own.
My husband and I both have degrees in the science field and improving STEM learning in kids is something we are passionate about. We spent 4 years acting as the 'Science Night Committee' at our children's elementary school and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. Watching 100 kids and their parents get such excitement out of simple science experiments really encouraged us to keep going every year, despite how much work it entailed! Most children are naturally drawn to science from an early age but slowly lose interest as they get older. This means that our country has fewer and fewer scientists graduating from college every year, which makes me incredibly sad! Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) will take our children far in this world if we can only encourage them to stick with it as they get older!
How to Ensure Successful Stem Learning in Kids
When children are young, encouraging a love of science is easy. Just take them outside and let them explore the world around them. Offer them books about nature to teach them about the plants and animals that live nearby. Give them free time to be creative and answer their questions when they arise. Don't just say 'I don't know' because you are busy. Tell them, instead, 'Lets figure that out together' and you will foster a life-long love of learning. A child that is provided with an outlet to their curiosity is one that will continue to be curious as they get older.
As kids get older, they often lose interest in STEM classes. They get busy with other interests and STEM classes get harder. So, how to you take your eager young learner and encourage them to not only enjoy STEM classes but to succeed in them as well? Here are a few tips to help your child (with your help!) succeed in STEM programs:
How to Ensure Successful Stem Learning in Kids:
- Keep the lines of communication open with your child's STEM teachers. Make sure they know to come to you at the first sign of problems with your child's learning. STEM classes often build on one another so an early struggle can lead to more problems down the road.
- Join or organize STEM-related groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to brainstorm with other parents about STEM projects and resources.
- Engage your teens in discussions about STEM concepts. Visit science museums together as a family and discuss current events surrounding math, science and technology topics.
- Encourage them to keep learning on their own. There are a number of great cable channels that air educational science programs geared towards teens and adults.
- Provide teens with the supplies they need for STEM success. This can include things like graphing calculators, books, and laboratory supplies as requested by your child's teacher.
- Find supplementary STEM programs in your community to enhance school learning. The Boys & Girls Club of America can help!
Research has shown that out-of-school programs advance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) knowledge, and increase interest in these careers. That means kids who are doing STEM outside of school are more successful in that field than kids who only see it during classroom hours. The Boys & Girls Clubs are leaders in out-of-school time programs and can help your child learn to enjoy and excel at STEM classes.
My.Future is a program supported by Comcast NBCUniversal which teaches kids the skills they need to thrive in today's digital world. It enables them to choose from more than 40 hands-on activities to help them understand how to safely and productively engage online and identify and develop digital interests. It includes topics like
- Game design
- Online journalism
Technology is constantly changing and jobs in those fields are booming. For more information on this new program, check out the Boys & Girls Club of America My.Future Program Overview
STEM jobs are on the rise in the U.S. and are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as any other field in the next few years. In order to be competitive in the global economy, our kids NEED to succeed in STEM programs. Successful STEM learning in kids will result in more scientists and researchers in the US in 10 or 20 years. However, in order to achieve that success, kids need parents to step in to help!
How are YOU encouraging stem learning in kids?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.