In this special “back to school” edition, I want to start at home. Parents are children’s first teachers and even when school starts, that role continues. The colors of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) need the canvas of 3 Cs (Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Communication) and a student who is well grounded with the habits of being proactive, putting first things first and starting with the end in mind.
A few things to consider for a STEMtastic year ahead:
1. Make your local public library a bi-weekly stop. Let your children pick out books that they want to read. As they start to transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”, encourage them to pick a mix of fiction and non-fiction books.
2. Practice math while doing regular chores.
a. 1 cup of water is needed to cook 1 cup of rice, how many cups of water for 3 cups of rice?
b. 4 clean socks make 2 pairs; 8 socks make how many pairs?
3. Children are naturally curious. Nourish this curiosity. Show them how to research and find answers:
a. Google it with them
b. Check out Wikipedia.org
c. Find a book at your local library
A 6 year old girl wanted to know how rainbows are formed. During the course of her research, she found the answer and even addressed some of her subsequent questions – why are rainbows shaped like an arc? Why is red on top of the arc?
4. Make playtime on computers (libraries or in-home), opportunities to learn while having fun. Sites like Lumosity.com offer brain training games for free.
By Moni Singh, Founder and CEO of STEM For Kids. Mrs. Singh (aka Ms. STEM) offers a unique perspective on innovation in education through her three lenses: as a mother of elementary age children who is strongly focused on making STEM fun for kids; as an engineer and a technologist who has brought several technologies to the market, from wireless phones to smart meters; and as a business executive who understands through her work across global organizations that success in the 21st century requires skills in addition to pure technical competence.