STEM is the future. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) aims to give children the tools they will need to succeed in school, work, and hobbies. STEM makes creators, thinkers, problem solvers, doers, innovators, and inventors.
STEM also builds and teaches creativity, problem-solving, life skills, ingenuity, resourcefulness, patience, curiosity. Exposing children to simple STEM ideas at an early age today sets a foundation for higher learning tomorrow.
STEM has become the foundation of both education and innovation around the world. The knowledge and skills associated with these subject areas are intricately involved with the creation and production of cutting-edge products and services. Coding and software development is part of a full STEM education.
What does STEM look like?
In an era when technical and scientific skills are increasingly important in the workforce, exposing children to STEM learning in the early years is key. It is never too early to introduce STEM to your child and to consider how to sustain interest in STEM.
- ”S” is for Science. The basis for scientific discoveries is being a good observer. You can help build strong observation skills in your child by playing games that include an examination. Talk about how observation helps us think critically and solve problems.
- ”T” is for Technology. Technology includes computers, calculators, smartphones, tablets, youtube, and more are all technology. Show your child how to safely search the internet to find the answer to problems you are trying to solve.
- ”E” is for Engineering. Engineering is designing and building anything from bridges and towers to simple machines and robots. Offer building challenges that create STEM learning opportunities for your child.
- ”M” is for Math. Mathematics ranges from the very first one-to-one counting, sorting, and patterning all the way up to calculus.
Use your imagination for more ideas on STEM activities to do at home. Think about what experiences encouraged you as a child to know more about science. Choose STEM activities early on and present them in a playful way. You will not only teach your child amazing concepts, but you will build a love for exploring, discovering, learning, and creating!
What are the benefits of STEM?
Our children thrive with STEM activities. Whether it be in successes or failures, STEM activities push children to expand their horizons, experiment, problem solve and accept failure as a means to success but what are the benefits for children?
- Fosters ingenuity and creativity
Ingenuity and creativity can pair with STEM and lead to new ideas and innovations. Without ingenuity and creativity, the recent developments in artificial intelligence or digital learning would not be possible. These technologies were created by people who learned that if the human mind can conceive it, the human mind can achieve it.
- Builds resilience
During STEM education activities, children learn in a safe environment that allows them to fall and try again. STEM education stresses the value of failure as a learning exercise, which will enable children to embrace mistakes as part of the learning process. This builds confidence and resilience, which will enable children to keep going when the going gets rough. After all, failure is part of a process that ultimately leads to success.
- Develops communication skills
Communication skills are perhaps the most important of all life skills. Having the ability to discuss and convey complex concepts to others while also learning from one another will be the key to achieving success in a child’s life as they grow up. Group activities in STEM promote sociable skills like active listening, open-mindedness, and open them up to giving and receiving constructive feedback.
- Empowers critical thinking skills
The kind of material offered in STEM education is focused on engaging children in critical thinking. Critical thinking is the process of actively conceptualising, applying, analysing, and evaluating information through observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or communication. As such, children will be encouraged to answer questions or solve problems not based on memorisation but based on actively engaging with the material to understand the issue at hand and solve it using logic. These kinds of situations better reflect what is expected of them in the workplace – experiencing situations like this early in their education will better prepare them for their futures.
- Boosts curiosity
STEM is all about empowering children to ask “why” and “how” questions. STEM will provide children with the opportunity to explore their imaginations to come up with imaginative solutions. Unlike other curriculums, STEM teaches children how to do research and inquire. Inquiry requires children to engage in active learning by generating their own driving questions and seeking out answers through reading and research. In this way, they can apply what they have learned to daily life.
- Encourages tech use
STEM learning teaches children about the power of technology and innovation. So, when they encounter new technologies, they will be prepared to embrace them, instead of being hesitant or fearful. This will give them the upper hand in the global landscape, as the world is becoming increasingly tech-centred.
Careers that involve STEM
Pursuing STEM careers offers a huge variety of options, and many of these careers are in high demand. Within the science field, someone pursuing a STEM career could become a chemist, environmental scientist, geneticist, astronomer, and more.
Engineering opportunities abound as well, with careers such as mechanical engineer, nuclear engineer, computer engineer, and chemical engineer being popular options.
Anyone pursuing a math career might pursue a career as a statistician, mathematician, cartographer, financial adviser, or financial analyst.
In the technology field, the opportunities include careers as a computer systems analyst, a web developer, a software developer or engineer, or a computer hardware engineer to name a few.
Regardless of the future career path considered by children these days, these skill sets gained from STEM education go a long way to preparing them to be innovative. STEM is what shapes the future as our world grows and changes. STEM is everywhere and in everything we do and how we live. From the natural world around us to the tablets in our hands that show us the world far, far away. STEM builds inventors!
“Children these days are very intelligent and brilliant, they are enthusiastic in nature. We need to grow their knowledge, understanding, and curiosity using the STEM education.” – Bamigboye Olurotimi