The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM disciplines foster problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration, and they are considered essential to face the challenges of the job market in the near future. Therefore, helping your children gain familiarity with the STEM frame of mind is an intelligent decision.
All good STEM activities share some common traits: They use science, technology, engineering and math to solve a real-life problem in a way that is realistic. In addition, they also involve teamwork and have multiple answers, that is, they are activities that can be completed in more than one way.
Moon Journaling Project
One of the best introductions to astronomy is watching the moon. Our satellite can be observed without a telescope. As a consequence, learning more about it is as easy as looking out of your window. Children can keep a moon journal and as they fill it, they can try to guess how the moon will look like the next day or the next week. To do this, they can use a notebook where they’ll draw the moon as they see it every night, making sure to record the date and the time. Or, if you have access to a printer, you can print out this worksheet provided by the NASA.
Create a Cloud at Home
You children can re-create the cloud formation process at home with some everyday objects and your help. First, fill a transparent glass jar with warm water and stir. Then, light a match (make sure you are the one to do this and not your children), blow it out and drop it quickly into the jar. Place a metal tray with ice or a hard-plastic frozen ice pack on top of the jar. A misty cloud will appear on top of the jar as the water evaporates, mixes with smoke particles and then condenses as it reaches the area where the ice is.
Learn to Program
Computer science projects are also STEM activities. As we have mentioned before, learning to program is an excellent learning activity for your children. Scratch is a programming language developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with children in mind. It’s free, the layout is playful and fun, and using it is as simple as assembling a puzzle. Scratch will allow your children to grasp the basic concepts that underlie computer programming. Once they have learned how to use Scratch, they can move on to HTML to create their own websites, or Python, a versatile programming language used by many of the most prestigious technology companies.