How To Strengthen Your Child’s STEM Skills

If you would like for your children to develop their ability to think and become successful members of the workforce, then they will need to have good STEM skills.  STEM is an acronym used by educators that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

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how to strengthen your child's STEM skills

Although parents, teachers and politicians are all very enthusiastic about how important science and math are, the United States has a very spotty record with these topics.  An increasing number of Americans are obtaining graduate degrees in science and math.  However, when it comes to international STEM assessments, U.S. student still tend to rank low, especially girls.

Government figures show that women make up fifty percent of the overall college-educated workforce.  However, when it comes to engineering and science positions for the college-educated workforce, only about twenty five percent are women.  In the meantime, jobs in those specific fields are growing at a much faster pace compared to other occupations.

One of the best things you can do is demonstrate to your children that being good at science and math really pays off.  The following are some tips you can use to help broaden the opportunities for children by improving their STEM skills.

Steps That Can Be Taken At Home

1.  Make things practical.

Science has many practical applications that extend well past the classroom.  While you are baking a cake or grocery shopping, explain chemical reactions or fractions to your children.

2.  Appeal to the specific interests of your children.

No matter what things your children are interested in, there is always some technical aspect to it.  While watching sports you can discuss how the video replay system really works.  When listening to music you can explain how computers are used by musicians to edit their music.

3.  Encourage hands-on learning.

Spark the interest of your children by finding fun activities for them to do.  You can introduce your child to counting by using wooden blocks.  You can use all kinds of ordinary objects that are in your garage or kitchen cupboards to come up with some interesting and fun science experiments.

4.  Plan fun outings.

You can often find enriching activities in your local area by checking the community calendars.  Visit your zoo so that your children can learn how endangered species are being helped to breed through the use of modern medicine.  Take a trip to a natural history museum and attend a workshop.

5.  Conduct online searches.

STEM materials are produced by many organizations that you can share with your children, including videos and games.  To help get you started, try visiting NASA, the National Geographic Society and PBS.

Steps That Can Be Taken At School

1.  Get an early start.

Studies show that girls and boys have similar abilities for math and science.  However, girls may start to lose some confidence in those abilities starting in elementary school.  Work closely with both your sons and daughters before they enter high school, so that they will keep their academic options open for potential STEM careers.

2.  Communicate with teachers.

Theses days, many schools are facing a shortage of teachers who are qualified to teach STEM subjects, and they may have a limited curricula.  Find out what is offered by your school by talking with your children’s teachers.

3.  Continue your own education.

You can of course be a stronger STEM advocate for your children if you keep up and develop your skills.  When your children are doing their homework, ask them to teach some geometry to you.  Keep up on the newspaper’s science section every week.

4.  Engage in extracurricular activities.

Your children’s classroom courses can be supplemented with things like science camps and explorer’s clubs.  They might want to design video games or build robots.  Anther great way for your children to make connections with inspiring mentors is to participate in group activities.

5.  Find essential resources.

If a tight school budget is a problem, parents might be able to work on solutions together.  You can research government grants to see if your school is eligible for any of them.  You might be able to get more local businesses involved in order for them to attract more qualified workers in the future.

6.  Discuss course options with your children.

In one study it was shown that children had a tendency to take more math and science classes during their final two high school years if a few brochures about STEM was received by their parents.

When it comes to children’s education, parents can play a very powerful role.  Help your daughters and sons build a strong science and math foundation so that they will be prepared to become successful in the workforce.

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