While I was in University, I was a volunteer Marketing and Events Planner (jointly with my now Husband!), for a fantastic non-profit Organization called SAWomENG (South African Women in Engineering, and now called WomENG – see the link here ). The 2 founders realized the need for encouraging and promoting engineering amongst females and so the organization was founded. We worked on running a fully sponsored, national, annual conference for 60 girls, where they we given the opportunity to partake in STEM activities, listen to key South African speakers, network and get involved with local and global companies. Coming from a completely “creative” marketing background, I genuinely (please don’t judge me for what you are about to read) thought engineering was just about construction hats and fixing things in factories. Even though I was “working” for the organization, the conference opened my eyes to the world of Engineering and how much of our everyday lives, engineering affects.
Not just engineering, but Science, Technology and Maths also. Which is what brings us to the buzzword “STEM” (which has been around since 2001). Although Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are anything but new subjects, STEM is an education style, focussing on using all of these 4 subjects together, which is said to aid in critical thinking (problem solving). So instead of how when I was in school and taught each subject separately, by a different teacher, with isolated content, the STEM is more of a combined system where all subjects are taught in one lesson with real life situations and exercises. Students as young as pre-schoolers are taught using this system, where discovery and exploratory learning is key.
This type of education definitely benefits those who exel with the “learning by doing” method, as it is experienced based.
While this isn’t the curriculum of most schools yet, expect it to be coming to most at a fast pace. There are a few companies that have courses for kids as young as 8 to those as old as 90 (!), to get technologically involved. We have recently partnered with Step Up Academy, (see link here, for the Geneva branch), where we offer Coding Books for beginners, some with exercises online so that you can code your own stuff, and some with interactive lift the flap information for easy learning. (See the books tab for more info).
If you prefer to do some STEM activities in your own time with your kids, there’s a really cool blog post up from the page “Playdough to Plato”, for ages 4+. They range from making Fireworks in a Jar to making Magnetic Slime. Click here to get to the post.
And because I started off the post about my “role” with Women in Engineering, I owe it to WomENG, to drive the agenda, and so I found out that 2 local organizations are driving the agenda of girls in STEM, and are offering better rates or specials for girl attendees! Woohoo Girls in STEM! Here’s the link if you are interested (for girls – actually its for all kids, but the girls get the better rates- aged 4+). Thank me later 🙂
Or you can browse through the Usborne books that I can get delivered to you, to drive your own STEM agenda at home. Looking forward to hearing your STEM stories, so that I can also learn more about it.