I received an email this afternoon from the school’s Communications person, asking me to
respond to the following two questions for an article.
How can parents get kids interested in STEM at an early age?
Is important to keep a child’s natural curiosity about how the the world works. Children ask a lot of questions. Answer them in a simple, accurate way and tell them how it ties into the wider world. And if you don’t know the answer, together find the answer. And if after answering a question and they respond “Why”, keep answering till you’re both exhausted!
Show them a sunflower and explain how the flower and many other objects in nature express themselves in math (the Fibonacci series).
Take them to a planetarium, a Maker Faire, and watch episodes of PBS’s NOVA series. Fix things together. Make a solar powered bug or shine a laser on a piece of mirror taped to an audio loudspeaker to see the patterns that sound make.
There are plenty of resources out there. Start with San Francisco’s Exploratorium website -www.exploratorium.edu/explore/activities
What can schools and educators do to support students learning STEM?
The very definition of STEM means that there is an complex interconnection of knowledge and systems. Many schools have a robotics program in which hardware, software and structure must work in tandem. The Maker Movement and school’s creating makerspaces are another manifestation of how STEM is taught in school. Think big. Be Creative. Build a hydroponic garden that is connected to the Internet of Things or marionettes that are controlled by sensors mounted on your body.