On November 8th, we celebrate National STEM Day to get kids excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Together the STEM subjects represent some of the fastest-growing and most in-demand fields in the United States.
While STEM topics seem a natural fit in high schools and post-secondary curriculum, education experts are promoting a focus on STEM subjects for younger and younger children. You might be asking, what will a four or five-year-old student be able to understand about these subjects?
STEM for Young Children
Research shows that children are ready to start learning STEM topics very early in life. According to the Early Childhood STEM Working Group, one of the most successful ways to keep children engaged in STEM studies is to guide them through natural exploration and experimentation.
Children naturally have a sense of curiosity and like to ask questions about the world around them. Parents and educators can foster this curiosity by guiding children through their journey and by providing additional questions, explanations, and examples to help inspire deeper exploration.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of five great activities that you can do with children at home or in the classroom to engage curiosity and interest in the STEM subjects.
Five Activities to Engage Your Students on National STEM Day
Teaching children about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math isn’t something that needs to be done out of a book. Here are five fun, hands-on activities that you can do with your child to get them passionate about STEM subjects. Happy learning!
Crystal Names– In this activity, children turn their names into crystals with the help of some household items. Children get to creatively form their names with pipe cleaners and also learn about suspension and sedimentation in a water solution.
Apple Oxidation– This activity has children hypothesize about and observe the results of an oxidizing apple and learn about the science behind why apples change color after they are exposed to air.
Mini Water Cycle– This activity has children create a miniature version of the water cycle. Using a few household items, this experiment teaches children about evaporation, condensation, and precipitation in an easy-to-see way!
Oil Spill Activity– This activity simulates the challenges that crews face when having to clean up an oil spill. Students will test different methods of removing oil from water and learn about the hydrophobic qualities of oil.
Hot Ice Experiment– This activity shows kids how chemical reactions can result in some pretty cool creations! Using some household items, kids can make a material that looks and feels like ice but is actually hot!