If you’re a parent who is interested in adding STEM activities to your home, there is no need to be afraid or worried that you can’t do it. Anyone can teach a STEM lesson at home as long as you learn just a bit about STEM!
I’m not a professional teacher (although I was a sub for a while!), and we do STEM at home all the time. The secret to teaching STEM at home is to share excitement for the process.
It’s okay if you don’t know everything, and it’s OK to learn along with your child! Keep reading to learn how to teach a STEM lesson at home.
Don’t miss the complete quick start guide to teaching STEM at home!
What is STEM?
You can read about why STEM is important here, but in general, a STEAM lesson is simply a lesson or activity that includes elements of science, technology, engineering, art, and design.
In a STEM lesson or STEAM lesson, children work to use all elements of STEM thinking to create solutions and solve problems. STEM activities help children think creatively and learn to become innovators, critical thinkers, and problem-solvers.
A child who does hands-on STEM activities is a child who embraces science and math in the future and is well-prepared to flourish in the science classroom at school.
How to Teach a STEM Lesson at Home
STEM challenges are open-ended, but they should challenge children to think outside the box and use STEM thinking. When you create your own STEM lessons at home, look for these elements:
Include Hands-On Activities
STEAM projects have open-ended solutions to challenges or problems. Each STEM challenge or lesson should include a hands-on element that children can explore using the tools given. You’ll find many schools and families using STEM bins, which contain tools and manipulatives to solve common STEM challenges.
Our Favorite STEM Challenge Kits
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Real-World Problem Solving
STEM thinking is all about creating new solutions to problems in our world. You can apply this thinking to your STEM center activities at home as well. All you have to do is include projects that have real-world applications.
For example, use LEGOs to build a model of a system that purifies water, or come up with a design for a product that prevents animals from getting hurt by plastic pollution.
Not every STEM challenge has to include a real-world application, as learning the concepts of basic scientific thinking and how the world works is also important. But a few of the challenges in your STEM center at home should have real-world applications.
Let Your Kids Lead the Way
Stock your STEM center with tools and STEM challenges that spark the interest of your children. If you have a child obsessed with robots, for example, have a few different robot activities and supplies in your STEM center.
If your child loves plants and growing things, you can give your STEM center more of a gardening and botany theme.
Children will want to dive into extra learning on things that they find interesting, but if you stock your STEM center at home with chemistry sets and challenges, and your kids just want to play around with electric circuits, then your STEM center will go unused.
Ask your kids to help you pick out things to put in your STEM center and you’ll all be much happier.
Make Room for Questions
Kids are naturally curious, so take advantage of that!
Encourage your kids to ask questions and try different versions of things in your STEM center. Avoid adding things that have right and wrong answers. Look for STEM supplies that encourage questions and exploration. This is how children learn best and they will retain a lot more information when they ask a question and come up with their own answers.
Even if their conclusions are wrong in a traditional sense, there are no wrong answers in the STEM center!
Hands-On STEM Activities to Try at Home
If you are ready to start adding STEM activities to your home, first read how to set up a STEM center at home. Then when you’re ready, try our ultimate list of STEM activities for kids, or try some of the activities from these lists: