School Closures Don’t Have to Mean Missing Out on STEM Learning
As the world waits for progress on the COVID-19 pandemic, all eyes are on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals to come up with solutions. With schools closed, some of them through the end of the school year, promoting STEM learning remains as important as ever for the next generation of problem solvers and innovators.
While many schools and teachers are diligently forging new paths to keep learning alive via online tools, the sudden closures caused by the virus still present many challenges for parents. Balancing working from home and supervising children while still try to encourage learning and healthy activities can seem overwhelming. The good news is that this historic situation is happening at a time when most people have access to technology and basic items in their homes that can turn into some fun experiments. A recent article provides five activities that can done at home to keep STEM learning thriving. These activities, such as polarizing pepper and soap, require minimal materials while also helping children understand the importance of washing hands—which has become even more important lately—as well as how soap does its magic. Worried about there being too much video game playing while school is out? Parents can turn the tech they have into a creative venture for their children, who can create stop-motion animation. With a phone and app, kids can make their own stories while mastering the technology and gaining insight into the complexities of the games they play. Whether trying out a balloon rocket, creating art, or bringing old puzzles back to life, it can be surprising how STEM is part of everyday life and readily accessible in the home setting and online. Whether kids want to learn a little STEM history, try new activities, explore nature, or take a math challenge, MastersInScienceData.org is one place to get a detailed list of websites worth checking out. For those more interested in experiments, Science Buddies has an array of activities that include a summary, estimated time, materials needed, instructions and some extra learning. While many of the above resources can be fun and informative for all ages, high school students already immersed in the world of STEM may feel a bit unchallenged. Science Buddies has advanced activities to help keep that STEM passion alive. Students looking for new ideas or interested in seeing what other innovations are being dreamt up can also explore the engineering.com ProjectBoard, a social network for sharing ideas and developing projects with categories that include advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence (A), earth and energy, electronics and robotics. There is in addition, a joint venture with make.co to unite engineers and help solve challenges such as the Covid19 crisis. There are plenty of STEM activities and online resources to keep children engaged and learning on engineering.com as well, so be sure to check out the STEM-centric game center designed to challenge young minds.