Knowledge of STEM subjects can shape a young mind and help them become better communicators, collaborators and innovators. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Engaging your teen in these subject areas may seem challenging when homeschooling, especially as there is often a focus on group activities. However, engaging your teen in STEM education will encourage them to become critical thinkers, make discoveries of their own and perhaps get their homework done more quickly!
A trip to a place where your teen can learn from their environment can be beneficial when teaching STEM subjects. Studies have shown that 66% of teens liked to participate in field trips and 53% liked to go places where they can conduct experiments. Hands on learning can often make the subject matter more interesting and memorable. Take a field trip to a national park or visit a local botanical garden to widen their knowledge of plant diversity. A visit to a planetarium or local science museum can broaden their knowledge of the world and the universe while also being a fun day out. If they are unable to get out regularly, try out a virtual tour of a museum or aquarium to instill interest in STEM.
Collaboration plays an important role in a teen’s interest in STEM subjects. Homeschooled teens may have to rely on their parent or guardian to take part in collaborative activities. These may be show and tell experiments where teens get to try it out afterwards or it may be an activity that involves working together to form ideas for a scientific project. Engineering often involves a lot of teamwork. Try building something together using items from around the house: plastic cups, straws and cardboard tubes. They can have fun using their problem-solving skills to create a stable structure. You can even get siblings involved in the activity to increase the number of team members involved.
STEM can be injected into just about any subject area. For example, if your teen prefers to use technology to create a presentation or a video report instead of writing an essay, then this can be encouraged. Additionally, if your teen wants to explore how a household item works, make it into a lesson. There are many ways to integrate STEM into your lesson planning.
Simply showing teens the properties of water or discussing which muscles they are using while playing sports are both ways to combine different activities for a well-rounded learning experience. This can also prepare them for college or their working lives as they may have to apply scientific concepts to various topics.
Homeschooled teens can learn a wide variety of STEM subjects by applying basic scientific principles to the world around them. They may develop an interest in one particular field, but using integrative learning in your lesson planning can help them to broaden their knowledge in a variety of subjects. This can be taken forward to college or to the workplace.