STEM in Primary

STEM in Primary
A blog for those interested in primary school STEM education

Saturday, 11 March 2017

How to do STEM at home

Stuff this week - How to do STEM at home?

Some might think it would be great if we could send our kids off to school and they would learn everything they need to. However parents know this is not the case and parental involvement is essential. Indeed, experts agree that parent involvement in education is one of the biggest predictors of student success. The Australian Government even has a couple of webpages devoted to this. Firstly, Engaging Parents in Education and secondly Parent Engagement in Children’s Learning.
In terms of STEM though what practically can you do. I list a number of organised activities in this blog but there is plenty that you can do at home.
Starting off there are great YouTube channels. From my youth The Curiosity Show and Professor Julius Sumner Miller. Then Jiwi's MachinesCrash Course KidsFun Science Demos and Physics Girl are some of my favourites!
For a fun science afternoon I recommend breaking out the Vinegar and Baking Soda and doing a bunch of experiments with that. Milk, Food Colouring and detergent is also an interesting activity. My girls are also slowly working their way through the book: The Curious Kid's Science Book.
Whilst on the subject of books a great intro to coding can be had by reading Hello Ruby. It gets some mixed reviews but my girls liked it. My older daughter liked Lauren Ipsum which is an Alice Through the Looking Glass style of story. Eventually though you probably want to get coding so I refer you back to my earlier blog post Resources to teach kids to code. The main thing that you want is to shift the kids towards activities which are creative rather than just consuming someone else's work.
You don't get much more creative than engineering activities. You probably have Lego so this is the first stop and open ended tasks (ie. not just following the instructions) should be encouraged. Constructing a Rube Goldberg Machine is a great activity although you could probably start a bit smaller than the video in that link! Paddle Pop Stick Bridges are also a great task and make a good competition between kids!
So much of life revolves around maths yet we often don't notice it.  Whilst I do some overt maths with the kids as part of their school work there is so much more that can be done covertly! The article Math Education Needs to Start Early provides some excellent examples of how you can increase exposure to mathematical concepts just in your everyday conversations.
If you would like to extend your kids overtly you might like to try Khan Academy. A free site used by millions of students everyday. It personalises learning through its software and uses gamification to motivate. If you create a parent account you get weekly updates of progress and can see the topics that they are stuck on. The software adapts to focus on weaker areas and doesn't bore them with exercises they have mastered. Salman Khan who started it has a great Ted Talk where he goes through the site's history and ongoing vision. He has popularised the idea of flipped learning.
I will finish by directing you to an article from the Edutopia website Parent Partnership in Education: Resource Roundup which has some more food for thought and practical ideas.
If you want more ideas then let me know! 

Stuff in the news

Thales and CSIRO team up for STEM education - Thales has partnered with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to promote vital Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in Australian schools
'It's 2017': Male-dominated STEM degrees continue to pose challenge - An article from the SMH regarding the continued under participation by women in STEM courses at university. 5 March 2017.
True appreciation of digital creates the haves - Teachers must be provided with the appropriate skills and they must be empowered to deliver the new digital and technology curriculum in a way that engages and inspires our young people. An article from The Australian 7 March 2017.

Stuff to buy

Makeblock Neuron - Currently on Kickstarter this is sort of LittleBits on steroids. It has some unique modules and what sets it apart is that many are programmable. I think it is a fantastic product and I have ordered some for my girls!
LittleBits Rule Your Room Kit - The littleBits Rule Your Room Kit gives kids the magic touch. With a handful of Bits and the brains in your head, you can now transform any boring old object into an awesome, interactive invention. 
*At this point in time I earn no money from any product I list and I am not affiliated with any other company.

Stuff in education

Tech Literacy: Making It Relevant Through Content Learning - Teaching technology at Meyer Elementary School goes beyond showing kids how to use email and apps. It gives students a context for learning technology through subject areas, making all learning more relevant. An article from Edutopia 5 January 2016
Parents may hold the key to teens' embrace of STEM education - Researchers from the University of Virginia have found a promising way to pique adolescents’ interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics: their parents.

Stuff to do Australia Wide

Young ICT Explorers -  A non-profit competition, which has been created by SAP to encourage school students to create their best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related projects. Registrations open in February. See the YouTube video here!
- - -
Young Engineers Australia - Provides an engaging, hands-on learning platform using LEGO® and K’nex® assembly kits
CoderDojo - A volunteer run programming club

Stuff to do in Brisbane

Gifted Awareness Week - Science Party with Street Science - Street Science with Bath Bombs & Beautiful Science. Robertson State School 18 March 2017.
QLD Association for Gifted and Talented Children Debating Competition - Love to see both sides of an argument, or simply looking for a chance to think critically and hear the ideas of others?  Look no further! Kenmore Library 26 March 2017
World Science Festival Brisbane - 22 - 26 March 2017. Dr Karl for Kids is sold out.
Whats happening at the Queensland Museum during World Science Week - Loggerhead turtle hatching! Taxidermy and Street Science!
STEMies - This event is open to all girls in years 4 to 6, offering the opportunity to participate in a series of workshops with STEM topics. To register visit the flexischools website and search for St Aidan's then select GUEST in the top right class list.
Stuartholme STEAM Residential - A STEAM Residential program for gifted girls in Years 5 – 6, which will be held from the 2nd – 5th April during the school holidays
Robotronica 2017 - Robotronica is a groundbreaking one-day event showcasing the latest developments in robotics and interactive design. QUT's The Cube 20 August 2017 
- - -
Brisbane Library Service has purchased the very flash NAO Robot and is showing it off in various libraries.
The Cube at QUT has a number of changing programs. 
Brisbane Planetarium - Features entertaining and informative shows for adults and children
Flying Fox Studios - A studio offering programs in the arts, music and construction areas from babies to teenagers in Brisbane

No comments:

Post a Comment