Experts Weigh In: How to Get Young Kids Interested in STEM

STEM is everywhere nowadays. It’s in the news, it’s in the schools, it’s in the White House and it’s in just about any plant you can think of.

(Uh … scratch that last one, actually. Wrong kinda stem.)

The STEM we’re talking about is:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering &
  • Math

(Sometimes with an A for Art included to make STEAM.)

STEM careers are touted as being among the fastest growing fields out there and the United States government has a huge push going to get more kids interested in these fields and graduating with college degrees in these fields.

But, before kids even get to college, they need to get interested in STEM while they’re young. We’ve scoured the internet (and by scoured, we mean we took a few seconds to type some words into a search engine) for what experts have to say about getting children interested in STEM from an early age.

 HD Chambers – Alief Independent School District Superintendent

Don’t use the word “STEM” and give students hands-on projects to do.

“It’s almost like you’re tricking them. You’re not calling it STEM. You’re not even calling it science and math in some cases. But they’re in a position where they’re working together and they’re building something. At the end of that process they see what they built. If they’re fifth graders, and quite frankly, if they’re fifth graders or 10th graders, that’s how you introduce it.”

 

 Cameron Evans – U.S. Chief Technology Officer for Education at Microsoft

Use a different, more familiar word and encourage creativity.

“I would use the word ‘play.’ We need to have a lot more playtime and not just recess in schools. But kids can have [creativity] taught out of them. That’s one of the things that we need to make sure as they continue to grow in their academic career that they flourish in their creativity.”

 Rebecca VanderMeulen – Writer at Education.com and faculty member at West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Use the resources at your disposal to introduce STEM learning.

“The lack of resources in many schools and the misconceptions people have about the STEM fields means you might have to put some extra effort into encouraging your kids to explore them. But it will be worth the effort if it sparks your child’s curiosity.

Here are some places to look:

Libraries. Learning doesn’t have to cost money. Next time you take your children to the library, encourage them to borrow books about subjects that interest them. Maybe they’d like to know more about the cicada shell you found in the park or how to make paper airplanes fly farther.

Museums. Check out museums near your home and in cities you visit on vacation. Marvel at a planetarium show or walk through a life-size model of the human heart. Take the kids to special traveling exhibits.

Local colleges. Science and engineering departments at colleges – from community colleges to big-name universities – often host day-long programs for families to learn while having fun. Harrisburg University, for example, organized an event about the science behind making chocolate.

Summer camps. Does your child take apart the electronics in your house? She might love a computer camp. A kid who captures the toads in your yard would have fun during a summer program at the local zoo.

After-school clubs. A lot of schools have clubs for kids to have fun practicing science. Kids can work together to build robots or plant a garden.

Professional websites. Whether your child is interested in chemistry, physics, math, computers or weather, there are professional associations for adults who work in those fields. Most of their websites have resources for parents.”

 

Karen Myers – Associate Professor of Communications at the University of California Santa Barbara

Have children job shadow someone in a STEM career

“Students don’t learn enough about STEM careers unless their parents work in STEM areas, and the messages they receive from parents, teachers and counselors frequently fail to address how students think about and evaluate potential career paths. Once students get a detailed picture of what it’s like to work in one of these jobs, it can motivate them to overcome difficult obstacles and adopt a STEM job as a goal.”

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Mighty Machines Lands on Top 10 Best Building Blocks List!

We’re thrilled to announce that the Click-A-Brick Mighty Machines set has earned the No. 8 spot on wiki.ezvid.com‘s Top 10 Kids Building Sets of 2016. 

Check it out:

Isn’t that cool?

We here at Click-A-Brick are pretty proud of it.

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A Short History of Mermaids

Click-A-Brick educational building toy for boys and girls

Today, we see mermaids everywhere, just not in the ocean.

They are on our coffee cups thanks to Starbucks’ usage of them in its logo and perhaps the most famous mermaid in the world, Disney’s Ariel, is all over the toy aisle and in children’s imaginations all over the globe.

But, mermaids used to be much more than just imaginary creatures. Many many hundreds of years ago, people used to actually believe they existed. To them, mermaids were as real as the ground beneath their feet.

Here, we take just a quick look at these fantastic mythical creatures and their history throughout folklore as compiled by Matt Simon for Wired.

Ea – About 4,000 years ago, Ea was the Babylonian god of the sea, he had the upper body of a human and the lower body of a fish. He was the inspiration for the Greek god Poseidon and the Roman god Neptune.

Atargatis – This ancient Syrian goddess was the first mermaid-like figure with the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a fish.

Nereids – The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote about these nymphs who were half human, half fish. However, he noted that the human part of them were still covered in fish-like scales. Pliny also wrote about sea-men who would climb up the sides of ships at night. The side of the ship with the sea-man on it would sink down in the water.

Sirens – From Greek mythology, these mermaids were evil. They could sing beautifully and their beautiful singing would captivate sailors so much that the sailors would stop their duties on the ship to listen to them. This would cause the ships to crash into rocks.

Click-A-Brick educational building toy for boys and girls1430 – In the Netherlands, some girls rowing around in a boat are said to have found a mermaid and took her home with them and gave her clothes. She could not be taught to speak, though, and remained a mute.

1493 – During the voyage of Christopher Columbus, he himself spotted what he believed to be mermaids near what is known today as the Dominican Republic.

16th Century – Olaus Magnus wrote that fisherman around Scandinavia said that if you catch a mermaid or merman, a harsh storm would develop instantly.

1614 – John Smith (of Pocahontas fame) claimed to have spotted a mermaid near what is now known as Newfoundland in Canada.

17th Century – French naturalist Guillaume Rondelet claimed to have gotten ahold of two sea creatures that resembled members of the clergy. The “sea monk” and the “sea bishop” were described in the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana of 1817 as having some human features.Click-A-Brick educational building toy for boys and girls

18th Century to Present – Sightings of mermaids became less and less common as people started embracing science more and mythology less. Today, they are reserved for coffee cups and cartoons … and educational building block toys.

What ancient people believed to be mermaids were likely just sea mammals like manatees and dugongs … or maybe mermaids actually are real!

If you want a real mermaid, all you need to do is grab your Click-A-Brick Rainbowland set. You can make a mermaid and so much more!

We hope you had fun learning about the history of these fascinating mythical creatures.

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