Hey Moms and Dads!
Guess what? You are the biggest untapped resource in aiding your child’s STEM future. Yes, you. Whether you loved math and science or hated it, whether you find it easy or impossible, your child can still use your help. If you need more motivation, just think about this:
- Jobs in STEM are growing nearly 40% faster than non-STEM jobs.
- STEM jobs pay nearly double the median for non-STEM jobs in the US.
- Unemployment in STEM jobs is nearly half that of non-STEM jobs.
Rosie Research, my goal is always to bring families together over science. It is even the driving force behind the local astronomy club I started up – families talking about, participating in, and doing science – together. I have one big philosophy to help parents do STEM with the kids: fake it till you make it. There is no need to talk about how you can’t do math, or physics, or chemistry. Just do a little reading ahead of time, watch a few videos, and slap a smile on your face. They won’t know the difference, but their attitude towards STEM will.
What can parent’s do to help their child succeed in STEM?
There are a few key things that you can do to help your child grow into a STEM world, those are promoting growth mindset, talking about the importance and job opportunities in STEM, and enjoying STEM-based projects in your home…for fun.
Let’s promote growth mindset!
Growth mindset is an incredibly powerful tool for adults and kids alike. It is something that can always be learned, and a mindset that can always pay dividends for those practicing it. Growth mindset is the idea that things like intelligence, ability, and skill set can always be improved. These things are not inherent to you, they are not capped, and you are not born with them. Instead, in growth mindset, you can always improve yourself. You can always learn new things, solve new problems, gain new skills. Instead of saying I’m not smart enough for this, a growth mindset would rephrase a difficult problem as “I can learn this if I work hard”. This mindset allows kids to achieve more because they are not struck down by their own preconceived notions of what they can or can not do while allowing them to always try to learn, and improve themselves. To learn more about Growth Mindset you should read the pioneer Carol Dweck’s book on the topic.
Talking about the importance of STEM.
Studies have shown that parents who talk about the impact of STEM on daily lives, and the importance of STEM in the world and individual lives create a bump in math and science ACT scores by 12%. TWELVE PERCENT. just by showcasing the importance of STEM in daily life. We often think that by high school our children’s views about STEM are solidified, but this study shows that that is not the case. If we can increase test scores by 12% in high schoolers by effectively talking to them about the importance of STEM imagine what we can do in younger years? Imagine what we can do to raise the interest in math and science at younger ages, and bring the US math scores back into a respectable world standing. The best part is one of the most effective ways to talk to your kids and teens about STEM is to showcase how various careers use math and science in everyday life. If we teach our kids that doctors need math to calculate proper drug dosage, architects need science to keep buildings standing, artists need math to effectively run their studio business, and chefs need science to create balanced delicious dishes. Science and math is everywhere, being used every day by everyone. Our job is to point out all of the places we see it and showcase the importance.
Enjoying STEM at home.
One of the most powerful things that parents can do to get their kids interested and excited about STEM is to do STEM at home, and not just for a science fair. Finding ways to blend STEM and hobbies can be challenging, but the payoff is significant. For example, if your child is interested in marine creatures you can investigate them, learn how to classify them, and even check out field guides for low-tide explorations. If your child loves art you can draw with robotic fans or bristle bots, merging circuit creation, engineering, and art together. You can marry snowboarding with physics and engineering, swimming with buoyancy and boat building, cooking with physical science and chemistry (dry ice ice cream anyone?!?), and monster trucks with monster jumps. STEM is in all of your hobbies, the key is to find fun and engaging ways to bring it to the forefront so kids can learn, without feeling like they are learning!
What we’re doing to help parents engage in STEM.
At Rosie Research we are committed to creating quality STEM resources for parents to use with their kids. This means providing a STEM education for parents as well as for kids. Our STEM curriculum kits provide lesson plans that include parent/teacher guides, keys, and other resources to help connect the science to real life. Our STEM lab books are also geared towards families, allowing one lab to be used for preschool through middle school, with add-on activities that level the STEM curriculum to each age.