What’s the Big Deal with STEM programs, anyway??? Aren’t they all the same???

If you’re paying attention to the kids’ educational toy market, you’ve probably seen the word STEM thrown around pretty freely. It is used so ubiquitously that the term has lost some of its significance. Sadly, as the meaning of the term is degraded, the benefit of STEM activities is also degraded. STEM (the acronym for Science – Technology – Engineering – and Mathematics) is much more than what it may first appear. A good quality program offers safe space to develop teamwork and collaborative skills as well as problem solving skills that will be useful throughout life!

Here are a few characteristics of a good program:

  1. They start with a real-world problemor challenge. For example, kids need to use teamworkto figure out how to build a bridge that would sustain a certain weight. They may be building a scale model, but they still need to employ sound engineering skills.
  2. A good STEM program should start with an EDP (engineering design process). The image above illustrates this, but basically it encompasses the idea of having a design problem, doing research, hypothesizing possible solutions, and then testing them to see what works the best. This organized means of attacking a problem offers kids an opportunity to work on a life skill for facing other challenges throughout adulthood.

3 Lastly, and perhaps most importantly: FAILUREis a part of any STEM program!!! How crucial for kids to see in a fun, safe environment that ideas that may not be successful in the end are integral parts of the process. Without the missteps, the genius of innovationoften can’t occur. As Albert Einstein once said, “Failure is success in progress”!

If you have a child that seems drawn to STEM activities in school or has a high interest level in technology, consider one of our STEM camps at Fick Educational Services. Check out http://fickeducation.com/summer-camps/ to view our various camps and email us at fickeducation@gmail.com if you have any questions about a particular week. Registration is open until June 11th.