What is STEM, and why is it important?
STEM is a curriculum based on science, technology, engineering, and math, but rather than teach these subjects discretely and separately, STEM integrates the subjects into a cohesive learning paradigm with real-world applications. STEM is important because our entire world depends on it. From the economy to our health, almost every aspect of our lives is dependent on the ever-developing sciences and technologies.
The emphasis on integrating STEM programs into our children’s education comes from the need to make ends meet in the United States’ projected job market. It’s projected that 2.4 million STEM jobs will go unfilled this year, and under representation of minorities and women in these fields will continue. Teaching STEM shouldn’t only be happening at school—a majority of STEM activities can and should be done at home, with parents or guardians.
5 STEM Activities for Kids
All you’ll need for Jellybean Building is a pile of jellybeans and toothpicks. By connecting toothpicks with jellybeans, your child will learn about creating structures, understand how shapes work and fit together, and begin to grasp the thought, design, and technology behind structural engineering.
Category: Engineering / Science
STEM is all about connecting to real issues. This activity can be used to show just how difficult it is to clean up devastating oil spills in our oceans. You can also take this opportunity to explore the different types of engineers that work on handling environmental issues.
As early as kindergarten your child can begin learning the building blocks of coding. With the printables provided, your child can apply different codes (instructions) to guide their Lego through a maze.
With the free printable worksheet provided, your child can identify whether or not items are magnetic while doing some coloring!
With cards that range in difficulty, your little engineer will have fun tackling the designs and learning about basic principles of building.
Ask Dr. Universe: Washington State University’s Ask Dr. Universe allows kids to explore STEM topics and get answers to their questions about the world.
Code.org: No one is too young to code. Learn how to build a mobile game, code your first computer program, and much more.
Engineering, Go for It! (eGFI): Discover the nuts and bolts of engineering. This website contains advice on careers and entertaining STEM field information.
EPA Students: This website contains news on the environment, homework resources, information on contests or ideas for an environment-based school project, and much more.
Exploratorium: The website of the San Francisco-based Exploratorium is filled with interactive activities, videos, apps, links and more.
Extreme Science: Here you’ll find weird facts about nature, resources for science projects and info on all kinds of world records.
How Stuff Works: It has hundreds upon thousands of articles that explain how natural wonders work.
Museum of Science + Industry Chicago Online Science: Tons of science apps and activities for kids.