7 ways to implement STEM program for kids
The implementation of a STEM program for kids depends on several interdependent factors. Let us talk for a while about them. The above are the aspirations of the national economy to increase competitiveness, the development of the labor market requiring digital competences, looking for innovation in education, the experience of the teaching staff, and the ambitions of parents.
By pointing to the above features, we can imagine that we will not find all of them in each environment, but most of them allow us to assume that the curriculum will open to STEM education.
STEM is the future of teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The range of competencies that result from learning them is invaluable. Future scientists, doctors, programmers, as well as lawyers, and social literacy professionals will all benefit from STEM-based early childhood education.
The remarkable thing is that we are not just talking about science-mind competencies. By extending the curriculum with arts – thus creating the STEAM methodology – we create a comprehensive STEM program for kids that covers all the necessary knowledge. I would be tempted to say that STEM / STEAM is not only worth attention – it is necessary to find yourself in the modern and rapidly changing world.
What skills can we teach the youngest?
- Starting from programming to knowledge about the world of nature and ecology around us,
- searching and interpreting information on the web,
- managing projects,
- working in a team.
In fact, there is no task that we cannot teach through STEM. Amazing!
1. STEM program for kids – what to know and when to start?
What should we know before implementing STEM education in the school program for children?
It is worth assuming that in this case, not everything depends on the core curriculum. Some tools and devices teach the above-mentioned competencies while implementing STEM for kids.
The teacher will have a lot to say in this matter.
The whole teaching process – and choosing the proper way to do it – is his responsibility. This fact is noticeable, among others, in schools in the United States. There, the pedagogue is a guardian, educator, and guide in the world of knowledge. Therefore, caring for the correct and methodological education of teachers is as important as teaching students.
Experts indicate that children who start going to school already have the necessary knowledge about the surrounding world to go with more advanced learning and significantly develop their cognitive and analytical skills. Two years old children absorb all the information they have been given. Therefore, it is worth remembering that early STEM education can only help.
We have extensive resources on the Internet
Resources can be used during lessons, but also students can use them for homework or tasks carried out during an educational project. And it is not only about the ready-made lesson plans, but – regardless of the subject taught – available resources for video materials available, among others, on YouTube, Google Cultural Institute, Google Maps, or Khan Academy.
What is this Academy? It is an American organization that aims to bring together a set of online tools to help you learn in one place. Short lessons are presented in the form of videos. Practical assignments and teaching aids for teachers are also available. Khan Academy resources are free and available through the website and mobile apps.
When teaching digital competencies, the set of resources that we can use are endless.
Starting from the tools provided by Google: Google Docs will help in the preparation of written assignments and solving math problems, through Google Translator an immense help in learning foreign languages, to e-mail and Hangouts for communication and Google Calendar, Google Keep, and Google Drive.
2. STEM education around the world
Countries are beginning to discover the potential of education through STEM. The innovativeness of the economy and its success is beginning to be perceived as the result of the level of education and preparation of students for life in a digital environment.
Adjusting the curriculum to teach the necessary competencies during its duration seems to be the key to ensuring the supply of qualified staff who can solve problems and present creative solutions. Schools in the United States develop an interest in science and math through science-based teaching. Some many organizations and universities support and collaborate in implementing STEM education at the earliest possible level.
Singapore discovered the benefits of STEM learning back in 2014. This process begins there already in preschool age. It is also a result of the expectations of parents who see the potential of the proper education process and want their children to be equipped with curiosity and practical skills.
The Scandinavian countries
The Scandinavian countries can go a step further. There, project-based education is considered. It would be an intriguing fact because our modern professional work is also based on them. However, we should also remember about learning the basics and arousing curiosity about the world.
The UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan
The UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan are also ready to introduce STEM teaching in schools. This has to do with the economic aspirations of these countries and their understanding that learning certain digital competencies and abstract thinking should take place on a par with learning to read, write, and count.
Central and Eastern European countries
Central and Eastern European countries are beginning to turn their eyes toward STEM education. Soon they will be the leading recipients of educational technologies that improve education processes.
Below we have compiled a collection of ways for you that can help you implement STEM in your kid’s curriculum.
3. Science lessons as a comprehensive experience in STEM program for kids
Getting to know the world of science through a series of interconnected lessons seems to be a very natural method. In this case, we treat the surrounding reality as a whole and learn to discover the world in the form of block teaching. It is also a departure from methods that assume a theoretical approach and memorizing massive amounts of information.
What if we do it differently?
Let us teach children to find and verify information so that they themselves can increase their knowledge and be sure that the sources they use are reliable and up to date.
From this perspective, the teacher is a mentor whose task is to adapt new generations to the world of the future. It is helpful to encourage students to continue exploring and supplementing their knowledge when they show interest in the topic being discussed. They should know that learning is an ongoing process. It is only up to us how much time we spend on learning new stuff.
Let us ask ourselves “why are we teaching this?” instead of “what to teach?”
STEM education focuses on problem-solving, analytical thinking, and project management. Contrary to appearances, it is more engaging in learning than classical methods.
Currently, there is no learning without computer skills and Internet use. Programming is becoming just as important. This is another skill that is starting to dominate the world of science. This is for several reasons, but most of all because it makes life so much easier. Caring about the future of our charges, we must know that soon all jobs will require digital skills.
Teach practical skills
Experts indicate that children who start going to school already have the necessary knowledge about the surrounding world to start more advanced learning and significantly develop their cognitive and analytical skills. Children as young as two absorb all the information given to them. It is therefore worth remembering that early education can only help. At school, the STEM program for kids is developing computer skills and much more – STEM applies to all modern technologies.
Design the curriculum
Learning practical skills related to designing the curriculum in such a way that it emphasizes this aspect of gaining knowledge. Skills in operating scientific equipment, using mathematical formulas, but also conducting conversations, being active in a larger social group, and using your abilities to support and improve group work. Let us not wait to learn the abovementioned skills. Let us implement them from an early age.
4. Using computers in STEM education
Computers make our daily life easier. This also applies to science. I assume that few of us remember the times before the computer revolution. Tasks such as searching for information, math, drafting essays, and creating graphics took disproportionately longer than they are today. Digitization has also affected schools. We have access to electronic journals, teachers and parents can communicate via e-mail, and the tasks asked can be more creative and developing.
Of course, there are also obstacles to overcome.
One of the biggest of these is the fight against digital exclusion. In a world where we use computers for learning, we need to make sure that all students have access to computers they can use for educational purposes, and access to the Internet. By filling this gap, we can prepare the youngest for the summons that will await them in their adult life and provide the opportunity to acquire their dream jobs in the developing labor market.
5. Get out of the classroom
Going to the museum, walking in the park, or going to the zoo are excellent examples of activities that can be a great complement to STEM education. In this way, we can demonstrate these phenomena in practice. The upside is that we can find a lot of teaching aids that support field research: from tablets that you can take with you on a trip to always have access to up-to-date information through laboratory kits that will make your fieldwork feel like a professional job. Some of these activities will have to wait until the end of the covid-19 pandemic, but it is impossible not to mention them.
It is also worth noting here that by using the online tool currently (including chats, e-mails, and videoconferences), they bring the youngest closer to the world of current professional activities of adults. Everything indicates that the current generation will undergo the digital revolution even faster than their predecessors. Which is just an introduction to introducing the school into the future.
6. Implementing STEM program for kids at home
We will face the end of classically understood homework soon. With the wide availability of teaching aids and access to network resources, we can also, teach using STEM at home.
There is an additional advantage here.
We will be able to use the time to learn to get to know our children even better, learn about their interests, learn about their strengths and weaknesses, spend time talking and take care of the improvement of the common bond.
Homeschooling is also sometimes a necessity.
The covid-19 pandemic will pass, but the working methods developed – including online learning – may continue in the future. STEM allows you to balance the time spent on learning with other activities and challenges that will allow you to maintain the necessary level of interest, focus, and attention.
In such accepted science, not only school subjects can be used to discover the world. The core value of STEM is not only the core curriculum but also any engaging homework that allows the child to acquire new skills.
7. Improving STEM program for kids using the Photon Robot
The Photon Robot was created for children of all ages, offering a diverse set of tools adapted to the various stages of children’s development, their abilities, and perceptive abilities. The contribution of educational robots to the education process and improvement of the traditional model of education is already visible all over the world.
Check how Photon can help to learn to code in 3 steps:
1) Find out how Photon works and what his capabilities are,
2) Learn more about apps, which will simplify conducting classes,
3) Choose scenarios and start your programming adventure,
Photon develops with the child – the robot’s abilities depend on learning progress. In this way, parents and teachers can monitor, and check learning progress.
Besides – who would not want to learn with an intelligent, multidisciplinary robot? The described robot fulfills its didactic role, and its use as a “teacher’s assistant” can add a friendly character and uniqueness to the lessons. It is also a great gift idea – for any occasion!