Thursday 15 March 2018

Want a bright future for your kids? Get them excited with STEM subjects

There are no guarantees of what will happen in the future - when our children or grandchildren reach adulthood, who knows what their lives will be like?

* Collaborative post

Perhaps no one will have to work, and everything is done by robots? Maybe everything from food to houses will be created by 3D printing machines? Or maybe with the increasing population rates, jobs will be scarce - and times could be tough.

But one thing we can say with certainty is that there will be certain skills that will always be in demand - those of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math - or the STEM subjects, as they are now referred to.

Of course, as most parents realise, it's these subjects that are, perhaps, the hardest to get our children interested in. Why do math when you can read a comic book? Why build things or do science experiments when you can watch TV or look at them being done on YouTube? And what happens if your child has more interest in creative subjects such as literature, art, or music and dancing?

Well, the truth is that while some kids are certainly more artistic than others, and some are naturally more interested in STEM subjects, there’s a lot we can do as parents to encourage them to take more interest in science, tech, engineering and math. Just because I'm not any good at these kinds of subjects doesn't mean that Ethan should or can't be.

STEM subjects are, basically, part of learning about the world and how it works - which every child is interested in from an early age.

Learning where their food comes from, for example, is an excellent introduction to biology and the sciences. Teaching them about spending and saving their pocket money is a great way to introduce mathematical concepts and finances. Learning about music and rhythm is also has a lot to do with math - all that counting, chord structures, and scales all have a deep connection to math principles. Sometimes this can be done in the classroom, sometimes at home or there's is additional support to consider, such as hiring a science tutor (click here to find a tutor now) or attending extracurricular activities.

Sitting down and building basic LEGO models, or a more advanced bespoke model plane is a fantastic introduction to engineering concepts. And as long as you are careful with the games you install on your iPad, and focus on educational programs rather than brain dead shoot ‘em ups, you will teach your kids a lot about technology They can even build their own computers these days with things like Raspberry Pi.

The point is, you can ignite a little flame of passion for STEM subjects in any child. And that excitement might result in them questioning more about the world and how it works, perhaps leading to an STEM-focused education. As long as you give them plenty of hands-on experience with things, and take them to interesting, fun museums - and watch shows from the likes of Bill Nye or Mythbusters on TV together - you can create a positive attitude towards a science of all descriptions.

Ultimately, even if your kids want to be a writer or a rock star, those STEM subjects can still come in handy. Maybe they will end up using electronics to build their own synthesizers, or use their knowledge of the web and technology to launch their own ebook?

So, there are plenty of reasons to get your kids excited about STEM subjects. Now it’s down to you to provide them with positive experiences - who knows where it might take them?


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