Get Your STEM On
By Jan Pierce
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math: STEM. That’s what the education buzz is about these days. And with good reason. The future job market for your young learners will most likely rely heavily on the problem solving and technical skills that go with these subjects.
Your kids love their screen time. Why not direct them to programs, games and sites that will teach them important educational skills along with having a great time? Here are some of the best games and websites for interacting with science, technology and mathematics skills.
Sesame Street: Yes, the favorite of pre-schoolers for generations, has updated their programming to include more than the alphabet. Now you’ll find problem-solving, nature and environmental issues as well as science and engineering segments on this classic OPB program.
Peg + Cat: This animated math-based site is found at www.pbs.org/peg. The songs, activities and interactive games make learning math skills a ton of fun.
Nina and the Neurons: is available from BBC. It’s chock full of basic science, engineering and coding games, plus songs, videos and activities available in both Spanish and English. Hands on proof that science is fun.
The Odd Squad: Another offering from PBS Kids, this show follows two young agents, Olive and Otto as they save the day using math skills. Each episode is twelve minutes long and full of great math insights for kids.
Ask Dr. Universe: Join Dr. Wendy Sue Universe of Washington State University on her site found at email@example.com. Get the latest answers, activities and videos related to hot science questions such as How are bones made? What’s a booger? Or Why is the ocean salty?
Planet Smarty Pants: is a blog written by an enthusiastic mom and filled with hundreds of activities exploring science, engineering and art. Great literature supporting STEM projects are offered as well as the everyday activities she and her daughter do at home.
Design Squad: Is a reality-based show in which teens aged fifteen to nineteen tackle real-life design problems. They design machines to solve problems. The teens compete to win college scholarship money. May be interesting to teens as well as the 9-12 group.
Cyber-Chase: Jackie, Matt and Inez are earthlings who have been pulled into a digital universe. They work together to keep their motherboard safe from Hacker. Math, weather and environmental knowledge help them solve their problems.
STEM Collaborative: This site has four major components: math by design, road trip, scale city and proportionland. Each module offers virtual environments, simulations, videos and interactive math challenges.
Xploration Outer Space: This two hour program is produced by Emily Calandrelli, a former NASA employee. It is shown on FOX affiliate stations. Each of the four half-hour blocks focuses on STEM topics related to space exploration.
Sparticl: This site is a treasure trove of information for teen-aged learners. It’s divided into living things, matter and energy, body and brain, tech and invention and earth and space. Each section contains informative articles, videos, and experiments to try at home.
Most of these websites and programs are interactive and very entertaining. Be sure to set an expectation for hands-on, real-life projects done in your home as well as screen learning. Kids love to experiment and problem-solve. These sites are a great way to get their creative juices flowing and take them into the world of real-life applications of STEM learning.
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