Science, technology, engineering, and math – more commonly known as STEM – are disciplines that most students need to learn during their elementary to high school years.

These interdisciplinary subjects serve as a foundation for more advanced learning and can be useful for students in the future, regardless of the course they intend to take in college.

Fortunately, even parents can help teach kids all about STEM at home. Besides enrolling your child for formal STEM education in Dubai, you can also follow these six best practices in teaching STEM skills within the comforts of your home:

1. Encourage curiosity

One of the best methods of teaching children STEM is inquiry-based learning. If they get curious about things, children will be more motivated to dig up more information, pick up new skills, and, ultimately, learn new concepts better.

When encouraging curiosity, parents should learn to ask open-ended questions and present problems instead of answers. This will intrigue children to work on a solution or find an answer to a question, thus making them more willing to learn.

Here are also some activities that could nurture learning and foster curiosity in your child:

Science: Take a Nature Tour

Nature tours are great for learning facts about science. Be it a visit to nature parks, an easy hike up a nearby hill, or a simple picnic in your backyard, taking a tour outdoors and close to nature will let your child engage with plants and animals that thrive in certain environments.

This way, your child will learn to ask the “what” questions about their surroundings and pave the way for learning biology.

Technology: Play Games of  Logic

From logic games to brain teasers, there are plenty of activities that can hone a child’s problem-solving skills and help them learn the true nature of technology.

Besides games, you can also engage them in building activities using blocks or even playing cards to teach them about patterns and repetition (and even gravity). Some building projects can also help your child learn about friction and navigation.

Overall, children learn how to follow a step-by-step process that ultimately paves the way for technological advancement.

Mathematics: Teach Your Child About the Metric System

While doing just about anything that involves measuring, such as baking or measuring your child’s height, you can talk about the English or imperial measuring system and the metric system.

You can talk about why the change to using metric has been adopted  by some countries, and why others haven’t. You can also practice making conversions as you go along.

2.   Solve real-world problems together

In some cases, teaching STEM is challenging because children have yet to realize how helpful this knowledge is in real-world scenarios.

To show your child the relevance of STEM in life, try solving real-world problems together. This can also help boost their motivation and interest in specific career paths they might want to take while serving as an excellent bonding time for the family.

Below are some ways how you can encourage your child to learn STEM and how it applies in real-world situations:

Math/Engineering: Teach about simple machines

Simple machines, like wedges, pulleys, and levers, are commonly used in everyday life. When teaching children about engineering, it is best to show them how these machines make certain activities easier.

Bring your child to the playground and show them how easy it is to carry someone heavier than them with a seesaw, or how quickly they can get down to the ground without hurting themselves with the help of a slide.

You can also develop a building activity using toy blocks to create a ramp for your child’s miniature bicycle (or even a life-sized one using the available materials in your backyard).

Math: Learn recipes and shop groceries

Math skills can also be taught at home, particularly in everyday household chores.

You can have your child help you out in baking and cooking to learn all about weight, volume, and temperature.

Even better, have your child help you with your grocery shopping, particularly in sticking to your budget and picking out products that will let you save more through price per unit comparison.

3.   Allow the use of technology

Besides entertainment, mobile phones, computers, and other gadgets are also useful in helping your child enhance their STEM skills at home.

In short, use technology as a kind of enabler for learning. Instead of just showing your child what these devices can do, allow some hands-on learning, too.

With the selective use of devices in your child’s everyday life, you can accelerate their learning, enhance their ability, and even boost their confidence in using technology.

4.   Teach teamwork and collaboration

While it is well and good that your child can do things independently, it is equally important that they learn how to collaborate and work with other people. At home, you can achieve this by coming up with activities your child can do with the rest of the family.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be something elaborate. Even a simple cooking activity where your child performs age-appropriate tasks or a family DIY project where they can pitch in small things for a project will help teach your child the value of working together.

5.   Foster resourcefulness through DIY

Learning begins when a problem or challenge is presented. Considering this, there’s no better way to teach your child to become resourceful than by allowing them to work on activities on their own.

There are plenty of projects you can have your child do, like a bedroom interior improvement project. Just remember to let your child do things that require the use of what’s readily available at home and adapt to the situation.

Do you have a trunk full of old materials that can be used to create something entirely new? Give your child access to these materials and let them think of ways to turn trash into “treasure.”

Besides learning STEM skills, this will also foster a sense of responsibility in caring for the environment.

6.   Paint drawbacks and failure in a better light

One integral part of STEM learning is knowing how to teach children ways to handle failure. No matter how significant it may be, any failure or drawback should be seen as a stepping-stone towards better inventions and innovative solutions rather than as a roadblock to success.

STEM Learning Made Easier

STEM learning is most effective when performed in collaboration with teachers and other members of the community.

As a parent, your responsibility is to open up learning opportunities for your child. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to take on everything on your own.

Instead, work with teachers, aunties, uncles, grandparents, and other people with significant influence on your child. This unified front will help make his learning easier, more consistent and effective.

AUTHOR BIO

Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.