How to teach your kids science, technology, engineering, & math… when you’re no expert!
Easy, free websites for elementary, middle, & high school students
Many parents are pulling double or even triple duty right now: working, parenting, and teaching. That can be really daunting.
And even when some students begin “virtual learning,” they’ll likely turn to you for help.
Science and math, plus engineering and technology, all make up the acronym “STEM,” which is a big focus in schools nowadays. Right now, adults who work in STEM-related jobs have some of the highest pay and lowest unemployment rates, and those numbers are only expected to grow by the time your kids enter the job market.
So how do you expose them to those tough-to-teach subjects when you don’t feel like an expert yourself?
Let’s start with science. Science is all around us… so you can easily show that to your kids. Bring them in the kitchen with you and have them bake. Following a recipe step-by-step is a lot like doing a science experiment. Sciencebuddies.org is a good, free resource where you can find recipe suggestions sorted by grade level- elementary, middle, and high school. Many of the projects are interesting for parents too: You can investigate how to make recipes without eggs for your dairy-free friends, or learn about the difference baking powder versus baking soda makes when baking cookies.
Since Easter is less than two weeks away, another idea is to color eggs as a family, and learn about the role vinegar plays in that process. Find out if you need more of it or less of it to turn your eggs a deeper color.
Now to technology: a subject many kids already school us at! Something we can teach them is how to use it responsibly and purposefully. Help your son or daughter connect with their classmates through Facebook, even if they don’t have an account themselves. You can create a Messenger Kids account through your own Facebook account.
Another interesting way to use technology is through ‘digital field trips.’ Google Streetview and other similar apps let you virtually explore National parks, national and international landmarks, and right now, you can also digitally tour more than 25-hundred museums, too.
Unless you’re an engineer yourself, the subject of engineering can seem very overwhelming, but there are free resources to help. Teachengineering.org is a great tool to find interesting engineering experiments sorted by grade level. The best part is that you don’t need many tools to make the experiments happen. One, for example, uses spaghetti and marshmallows, to teach your middle-school age kids how tension and compression forces work. Your kids can build different 3D shapes with just the noodles and the marshmallows and then rest different objects on them to find out which structure holds the most weight. Engineers use these skills when figuring out what to build out of, or what shape to build in.
Finally, let’s talk about math. The easiest way to teach this is to show your kids the many ways they already use math everyday. Make sure your elementary school age kid knows how to tell time on an analog clock. Take kids of all ages in the kitchen with you and have them cook: measuring out ingredients, doubling a recipe… or cutting one in half. That’s teaching them fractions.
Now is also a great time to ask your older son or daughter what type of math they’d like to improve at. Maybe it’s algebra. Maybe it’s geometry. Or maybe they’d like a little refresher course on everything. Commoncoresheets.com is a great resource for this. There are a bunch of quick and free worksheets you can print out for your kids to complete. (P.S. Parents can also print out the answers on the site!)
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