How to Teach Real World Problem Solving

Our children need to learn real-world problem solving!

As homeschooling parents, we know our children need to learn to be real-world problem solvers! We want them to be successful adults both in their jobs and their families, and we know that means they need to learn to think for themselves and handle whatever problems they encounter. But how do we teach them to solve problems? How do we teach them to think them through and find solutions? How do we teach them to engage with the environment (whether that’s school, job, friends, etc.) to be successful and handle whatever comes their way?

young scientists


Introduce Real-World Problem Solving with Resources from the Young Scientist Lab

Have you ever heard of the 3M Young Scientist Lab? It’s a great place to find all kinds of problem-solving resources to use in your homeschool! One of the reasons we love it so much is that their resources can be easily integrated into what you’re already doing. (We know homeschool moms are looking for ways to work smarter not harder with out children! We’re busy ladies!) Take a look at a few of our favorite problem-solving activities:

  1. In Science at Work, your children will learn more about 3M laboratory scientists. They’ll find out how these scientists work every day to research information, explore new possibilities, and impact the world with their innovative ideas and inventions! They’ll also learn more about STEM career opportunities.
    • Did You Know: For example, did you know that the Post It Note was developed by a 3M researcher named Art Fry? His bookmark kept falling out of his hymnal at church, and he needed a way to make it stick to the page without doing damage to it. His problem, a bookmark that didn’t stay in place, caused him to get creative and eventually led to the invention of the Post It Note! (I don’t know about you, but his invention has literally changed my life! I don’t know how my homeschool would have survived all these years without my Post It Notes!)
  2. Try some “brain boggling” experiments! These activities are designed to capture your children’s curiosity and make them think in a scientific way – while having fun! They are based on classic scientific discoveries – some dating back over 200 years! Students can download step-by-step instructions to everything from sandwich-bag dart boards to two-stage balloon rockets, complete with explanations of what should happen during the experiment.
    • Did You Know: Your child has a “magic touch”! Have fun helping your child explore his or her own “magic touch” by doing a simple Charged Fingers: Do You Have the Magic Touch? experiment! You’ll find out how to do this and other simple experiments–many of which only require materials you already have around the house.
  3. Awaken your child’s curiosity and problem-solving abilities with these fun interactive learning resources. These activities are based on classic scientific discoveries we encounter every single day! Have fun with your family testing yourselves to see if you can identify how science shows itself in the most unexpected places! These resources are super easy to link to or to introduce as part of an overall STEM experience, allowing parents to test students’ knowledge (or vice versa)!
    • Did You Know: Our children may not know that alternative sources of energy, such as wind power and solar energy, provide power with minimal impact on the environment. Using this interactive site, they’ll be able to design and test their own wind turbine to supply 400 homes with electricity for a year at the highest efficiency and lowest cost. There are other interactive activities to choose from too!

Developed in partnership with Discovery Education, the 3M Young Scientist Lab gives parents resources to engage your children in real world problem solving with fun, hands-on activities and experiments.  You can even take your students on a virtual field trip to explore how 3M scientists are using biomimicry to improve and invent new products for everything from healthcare to food science to adhesives.

Join the 3M Young Scientist Challenge!

And, you can take the learning even farther by encouraging your children to enter the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. If your children are curious, innovative, and interested in impacting their communities – and they love science – this is the challenge for them! The 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the nation’s premier science competition for grades 5-8.

This one-of-a-kind video competition has sparked a sense of wonder and discovery in hundreds of thousands of students and enhanced science, innovation, and communication across the United States. It only takes an idea to get started, the entry process is easy, and the grand prize is $25,000! All of the information you need to enter as at your fingertips, including a step-by-step guide, FAQs and idea starters. The entry process is open through April 21st.

Who can enter: Students in grades 5-8

What is the prize? $25,000!

How can my child enter? Click this link to find out!

There is no shortage of resources available to spark curiosity and innovation in the minds of your children! Maybe the next Young Scientist Challenge winner will be from your household!

To learn more about the 2020 Young Scientist Challenge or explore hands on STEM resources featured in the Young Scientist Lab, visit www.youngscientistlab.com.


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