STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) after-school programs are an important supplement to the traditional classroom experience. In a world that is rapidly changing due to advances in technology, the importance of science and mathematics proficiency cannot be overlooked. STEM-focused after-school programs offer young students the opportunity to build hands-on skills in areas such as robotics, coding, 3D printing, and more.
While more parents have begun to recognize the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in their children’s education, they often don’t know how to begin incorporating those skills into their child’s after-school activities. Here are 11 key things to know about bringing STEM after school into your child’s after-school routine.
Things to know:
- Explore New STEM Technologies:
Many after-school programs now make use of technology to help students learn STEM topics. Robot kits and VR programs are a great way to strengthen a student’s STEM skills in the areas of engineering and computer programming.
- Participate in STEM Challenges:
The STEM challenges that kids can find in after-school programs help build their problem-solving skills. Instructors use challenges to get kids to develop ideas and work as a team to come up with solutions.
- Make it Fun:
Getting involved in STEM activities should be fun for kids. Putting some emphasis on activities that integrate learning and creativity can keep kids interested and help them learn better.
- Support Curiosity and Exploration:
An important part of learning STEM topics is exploring. When students are allowed to take their time to explore and further evaluate their questions and ideas, they are better engage and learn more.
- Mix Science, Technology, Engineering and Math:
Stem after school program should involve mixing topics like science, technology, engineering and math. It helps students to be able to relate the different branches to one another and see how they can collaborate.
- Focus on STEM Pathways:
After-school programs should inform students about different career pathways available in STEM and encourage them to pursue those pathways. They should also provide internships and mentoring programs to give students a hands-on opportunity to experience their career of interest.
- Explain the Relevance:
After-school programs should be sure to explain the relevance and importance of STEM topics and the career opportunities available. Teaching students the real-life applications of STEM can be a strong motivating factor for the students.
- Develop Critical Thinking Skills:
Making use of after-school programs to bolster critical thinking skills is extremely beneficial for students. Through exploring and problem-solving activities, students can hone their ability to understand, apply, analyze and evaluate the various topics.
- Involve Families:
Involving parents, family members and other mentors in the after-school activities can help create a better learning environment. Parents can help their kids to relate the topics to their everyday lives, while mentors can provide even more guidance and support.
- Attend STEM Fairs, Conferences and Camps:
After-school programs can also encourage their students to attend STEM-related events and activities. Through participating in camps, conferences and STEM fairs, students can get to see and experience even more opportunities that STEM has to offer.
- Think Outside the Box:
STEM after-school programs should be able to challenge their students and push them to think outside the box. By introducing new ideas and concepts that have yet to be explored, students can come up with extremely creative and innovative solutions.
Having a good STEM after school program can give students the extra push they need to excel in their STEM-related studies and develop critical skills. By following these tips, you can ensure that your child can get the most out of their after-school activities.