My kids are super into science and STEM activities. But until a few years ago, I had no idea what a STEM activity was or why it was important.
If you’re a homeschooling parent, you research everything you can about every subject you introduce to your kids. Some of you are probably thinking, “Oh goody, another thing I have to teach,” but don’t worry!
STEM education (sometimes also called STEAM) is actually incredibly homeschool-friendly, and in fact, I bet most of you already do it!
STEM is simply the belief that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (A is art) can (and should) be taught together (not always, but often). There isn’t really any particular STEM curriculum because STEM is more of a teaching/learning style than a subject.
In a STEM investigation, children are taught to apply their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math in a hands-on way that makes sense to them personally. That is why you’ll often see STEM activity ideas relate to a child’s life in some way.
In general, STEM is simply an acronym used to make sure that science activities are done with purpose and that they follow the scientific method.
A STEM activity study will include the following elements:
- A question. Why something works, how something works, or a problem that can be fixed.
- A hypothesis. If we try this, perhaps this will happen.
- A demonstration or test. Testing the hypothesis.
- An explanation. The activity did or didn’t work because…
- During the study, math, engineering, science, and technology elements are used.
You don’t always have to do full-blown STEM studies to have a STEM-focused homeschool. We often break the four elements of STEM into separate activities, just to keep things simpler. We build on activities as kids grow and make them more complicated. It doesn’t take a whole lot to become just a little more STEM-focused in your homeschool, because STEM activities are essential homeschool unit studies and have many similarities with unschooling.
STEM Activities to Try
Do you do STEM activities in your homeschool? We would love to hear about them! If you don’t already do them, what are you interested in doing?