Home Learning Ideas – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)
2020 has been a year of adapting and learning new ways of working due to the outbreak of COVID-19. With many countries going in to full learning and education transitioning to online learning from home. In recent years, learning in school has shifted in focus to see more importance placed on STEM subjects and the skills necessary to enter a STEM workplace. Skills that can be developed through STEM lessons include vital problem-solving skills and critical thinking, which benefit children throughout their education and will continue to help outside of school and in their future careers.
Here are our top tips below on how to create a positive home learning environment to help foster and further develop STEM skills at home.
Highlight STEM skills in all work
STEM skills are developed in much of the learning that is already taking place, and parents are probably already facilitating this when helping with home learning work. Whether it is building a model, using the computer, problem solving during numeracy work or measuring recipes, it is important to talk to children about the skills that they are developing in order for them to recognise the importance of them, and how often they are working on them.
Make Learning Fun
Studies have shown that active lessons where children can work through problems with puzzles or tasks, rather than just on paper, allow them to increase their understanding and develop their skills. There are plenty of examples of activities online that you can recreate at home. One of the easiest ways to do this is through the Sphero littleBits At-Home Learning Starter Kit. Advised for children aged 8 and over, the kit includes simple electrical components, stickers, paper templates and complete lessons linked to educational standards. There is a clear getting started guide that is easy for parents to understand to help guide their child through learning. One of the introductory activities includes a basic circuit kit that children can build to help learn the basics of electronics – how brilliant! Other activities that are included in the kit include the creation of carnival games and inventing a creature – in both tasks children work on their brainstorming skills but considering the brief of their project, before creating and testing prototypes and evaluating their success. These projects allow the child to work independently at times, and in collaboration with other family members at others and is a great introduction to STEM learning.
Focus on mental health
One of the key underlying features of education is that before learning occurs, the pupils must feel ready to learn. During these uncertain and unprecedented times, it is important to understand that everyone, especially children may struggle with the changing routine. Therefore, it is also important to nurture mental wellbeing – meaning that their daily routine may differ from a normal school day. Take longer breaks, allow them to gain exercise and get outside and most importantly, check in and see how they are feeling. If they are finding an activity too difficult, move on and come back to it later when they may have a more positive mindset. This is why the home learning starter kit is perfect as it has so many tasks to choose from.
Comment and share your ideas for optimal home learning down below – we are all in this together.