Introduction to STEM learning STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics
It is a new form of education catered to children to allow them to pick up valuable skills and increase the fun factor of learning. STEM products incorporate a variety of materials that will help children recognise the importance of critical thinking, hand-eye-coordination and basic science principles. By compacting everything into a small and engaging package, a STEM product will leave children with the aforementioned skills and teach them key lessons before they even realise they are actually learning out of the classroom.
Why is STEM exposure important
Kids learn faster than a lot of their parents might think. Have you wondered how your child is able to navigate his/her way around your Ipad/mobile device without you teaching them? The ability to learn quickly and absorb new content is very much built into every child. The only catch is that most children have short attention spans and have might have trouble staying focused and engaged in something not as stimulating (a textbook for example). STEM removes this catch entirely as it is marketed as a toy which is usually DIY and as the kids figure their way to assembling the DIY toy, they are unaware that they are actually picking up skills that are very much relevant to the expectations of the modern day classroom. One of these skills is critical thinking. By thinking of the product’s solution, a child might come across different methods which may or may not work in his favour. To overcome this, he/she would have to eliminate any unfavourable possibilities that would hinder the assembly of the DIY toy. Without them knowing, they would have just learnt how to think critically. The skills learnt through STEM products will only improve and grow the more often children are exposed to STEM. The next time a child successfully assembles a more complex DIY toy, you can be assured that his/her ability to think critically has been improved.
How is STEM learning applied?
STEM products come in a variety of shapes and sizes and is not just restricted to DIY assembly toys. As children gradually get exposed to the stimulus of STEM toys, they would want a harder/more complex product to play around with. More complex products would require greater application of the skills learnt from previous STEM kits and would give kids the mental engagement needed to solve the kit. The best example of progressive learning and engagement would be drone flying. At a young age, a child would quickly figure out his way around controlling a drone in the air and performing basic movements. However, after getting used to the initial learning curve and mastering the skills required to safely pilot the drone, the child would get bored and might not play with the drone any longer. This is when they are ready for the next progression of learning. Their next drone should be more complex and have a more difficult learning curve than the previous drone. This could mean lesser assistive function, more sensitive controls or even building the drone right out of the box. As children master each progression, they would be learning important skills without them even knowing. Drone exposure can even allow children to learn how to code and program a drone to their desired specifications, all while teaching children about various coding basics and computer language. This is how STEM learning can be applied and drone exposure is only one of many possibilities waiting for your child.