What Is STEM?
According to Live Science, STEM is a combination of four academic disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These are critical to a child’s education and later adult development. While children tend to believe that technology is limited to those things around them, there is much more to the world than even this tech-savvy generation has discovered.
Why Learn STEM?
Here are a couple of facts about our future:
1. Computer Science is fast becoming the key ingredient in all aspects of our modern lives.
2. Our children won’t be working in the same types of jobs we hold today.
So, then, can we really train them with “job skills” as many other Coding and Tech schools have us believe?
While we can teach them to interpret algorithms, data and applications, we must also train our children in Ethical Coding standards so they understand the implications of what they’re creating in the larger context of the best interest of our present society and future generations.
That’s why our curriculum is innovative and project-based, so children set goals early on to help with every decision they make to move forward. We help children work on finding their passion while showing them the importance of having dedication and a strong work ethic. Imagine children exploring while doing math, learning to code and engage in play in the real world while seeing their creations come to life in the virtual world.
Well, STEM, the curriculum based education involving Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, is everywhere. It has different flavors, our favorite being STEAM, which involves the Creative aspect that Art and Playful exploration brings. Then there’s STREAM, which includes Robotics, AI and Programming.
Whatever maybe the disciplines involved, STEM can be best adopted if children are taught in the context of real-world applications and solving project based problems.
Parents ask us the importance of STEAM all the time. Here’s why we believe the disciplines of STEM interlaced with the creativity and imagination of art is the reason why such tough academic concepts are easy to remember.
In the context of learning, this is how STEAM is a great tool:
a. It inspires creativity and innovation
b. It reinforces critical thinking and reasoning
c. It promotes problem solving
d. It encourages flexibility and adaptive thinking
e. It supports collaboration and communication
Skills Learnt During STEAM Classes:
Whether it is Problem based learning and project-based learning, here are the skills that are practiced during STEAM classes.
Reading comprehension – pick out the most important details from the lesson on simple machines
Information recall – remember what you learned about the number of parts a simple machine has
Knowledge application – use your knowledge to answer questions about the different types of simple machines
How These Courses Help Children?
These courses help to:
Generate curiosity and interest in the world of Coding, Robotics, and Game design.
To give children the courage to attend competitions and solve real life problems using code.
Learning to make mistakes, create something and understand how things around us work.
It teaches the importance of language, helps them develop rich vocabulary, basically enable them to talk like programmers and coders.
Teaches them logic, time management, organization, design, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, all the skills not actively taught in school.
AI And Machine Learning:
Have you wondered why we’re hearing the two words “Artificial Intelligence” more and more these days. Here are the top two reasons why. In the last decade, the growth in
a. Our computing power and
b. The spread of internet and social media has been exponential.
Our classes that involve building robots, or taking them apart – have three learning objectives.
1. We learn about Gears and Gear trains. And their function to provide pulling power “torque” in devices. We talk about all the places we come across gears in our daily lives. We decide to make it a point to observe how different machines operate and if gears are involved in their functioning.
2. We discuss the three laws of Robotics that can help us determine if we’re building Robots for ethical purposes.
3. We build or take apart Robots as much as we can and we do it without using an Instructional manual.
About the Courses:
Coding is fast becoming the language of humans. Our children must begin their digital literacy journey early on as they interact with devices and technology day in day out.
We use Scratch, a coding platform developed by MIT, and build cool animations each week. In class, we set expectations early on that children are responsible for their projects and homework. This improves self-advocacy and focus management, two important life skills, that help kids develop the confidence to navigate real life challenges on their own.
Our curriculum ensures that children understand the real-world application of the solution they’ve just created. And most importantly, they realize the ethics and the potential for a positive impact of their contributions.
How We Teach Coding?
Every class has many learning objectives. Logic and thinking are what is going to be taught.
The idea is to teach how code works, the program concepts of flow, loops, algorithms, conditional logic and clauses. The semantics and syntax come much later.
For example, here’s a Concept Overview of our Python class:
1. Essentials of block coding – move, sound, sensing, loop, conditional (if…then..)
2. Variables, messaging, and cloning
3. List/Arrays, complex project designs
– ALL while having tons of fun!!
Bureau of Labor Statistics:
7 of the top 10 fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs are in computing, over $75,000/year. And 300,000 unfilled openings in Cybersecurity – median salary $90,000
Encouraging The Inner Scientist:
STEM has evolved into STEAM where children are taught 21st Century skills like problem solving, goal setting and decision making using a project-based curriculum. The question that this curriculum aims to answer is, “How would artists use their creativity to problem solve?”
Here are ways you can encourage the inner engineer or scientist in your child:
* Workshop style learning. No answers are wrong, we all collectively come up with a solution.
* Create a hands-on environment. Allow children to tinker, probe and figure out things their way.
* Encourage questions. Let their curiosity be the guide to navigate your lesson plan.
* Encourage creativity. There’s so much joy and pride we experience in building something that did not exist before. When we use our ideas, our hands and our thoughts while putting our focus and our senses on the process, amazing results happen.
* Ask about what real world jobs they know about. Let them describe the careers they think they would like to get into in the future.
Parents, spend a few minutes explaining to your children the kind of work you do for a living. Need help?! Join us for a free class to explore your child’s interest in STEAM!
Our STEAM Curriculum:
The idea with our STEAM robotics and coding courses is to put the power of computing in the hands of kids so they feel empowered to create rather than constantly consume.
Our curriculum covers topics like what coding is, how code works, the program concepts of flow, loops, algorithms, conditional logic and clauses. Our techniques and strategies in our lessons teach methods of problem solving, rational thinking, decision making, and adapting to changing circumstances. The semantics and syntax come much later.
Our curriculum is designed to enable students to get a hands-on introduction to robotics, understand the Internet of Things around us, and become enthusiastic about the concepts of Engineering and Design. The idea is to become creative with problem solving so they can use the concepts of strategy, creativity, collaboration to address real-time problems around them.
We’re different than scores of other Coding schools out there because of our strong emphasis on Soft skills based on the 6 pillars of FutureSTRONG, namely, Communication, Confidence, Collaboration, Clarity, Courage and Commitment.
Computer Literacy In Classrooms:
The rise of technology is rapidly changing how we’re educating our children in school and at home. Toys like the Cubetto Robots are helping children as young as 3 years old to code, showing us that Computer Literacy is becoming just as important as Reading, Writing or Math.
To engage students in our classrooms, we at FutureSTRONG Academy, use problem solving through playful exploration. The idea is to help children discover what learning objective they have and what problem they’re expected to solve at the end class or project.
In another way, it’s the age-old Socratic way of learning through probing using trail-and-error to arrive at the desired result. Teaching children to be self-sufficient is both encouraging and empowering to their little minds.
Whether our children want to own the next self-driving car, build a bridge that connects land masses, or create algorithms to understand customer behavior, the future of work needs creative thinking and adaptive problem solving. Are you ready to help your children make a dent in the world?
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About The Article Author:
I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté.
Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like.
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents
Inside The Ideal 21st Century Classroom
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