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Titi Oliyide: How to Get Your Kids Interested in STEM

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Perhaps you have taken your son out to the football pitch and from his hand-eye coordination, you have realised that Project Mbappé is a no-no. Or your daughter prefers to take apart the remote control rather than watch Serena Williams play tennis. Now you are wondering how to execute Project Marie Curie/Albert Einstein.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in many parts of the world, you may have found yourself in a position where you need to play a more visible role in the formal education of your child or ward. If your children or wards are showing some interest in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, here are a few tips to help fan those flames:

Encourage curiosity

Children love to ask questions, while it can be a bit exasperating to be on the other end of an endless stream of questions, it is important to seize those opportunities to make them a learning session on the importance of STEM.

Learn from everyday examples

We have so many practical examples of STEM around us. Going for a run? You can have a chat with your ward on speed and its relationship between distance and time, how a pedometer works, and so on. Cooking? While grabbing your electric mixer, seize the opportunity to discuss how electricity can be used to make the blending process faster and use less human energy.

Learn together, STEM is about thinking differently

You may be looking at the examples I gave earlier on and wondering how the heck you’re supposed to know these things. Well, hello Google. Thank God for the internet, it definitely makes learning a fun way to bond. One evening, I had a great time watching a YouTube video with my nephew learning about rocks and rock salts. It was such a precious time spent bonding, and I learned a few things myself! Learning together helps bonding time and it is a good thing for kids to see that adults do not know it all too.

Researching other people’s stories and mentoring

Again, this is a great time to thank Tim Berners Lee and his cohort for the gift of the internet. Researching other people’s stories and mentoring is a great way to learn not just about STEM topics themselves, but the people who are making innovations within the STEM space.

STEM Resources

There are quite a few resources online that could help feed any interests which your kids have shown in form of activity worksheets, YouTube videos, simulation games, coding projects, hands-on projects, and so on. 

Remember that the key is not to force kids to go into a field, but to make them aware of the options available to them. And the great thing is, you pick up some knowledge along the way yourself and, who knows, that knowledge may help you on the next game show or pub quiz!

 

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Photo by Marta Wave from Pexels

Titi is an engineer, a STEM ambassador, and an avid reader. Follow her engineering career journey and lessons she has learned on www.engineertiti.com or check her out on Twitter @Engr_titi

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