How to Have a STEM-Sprinkled Summer


Continuing to reinforce a STEM-State-of-Mind during summer vacation may seem intimidating to parents, but it really can be simple and fun!

The most important rule of thumb for engaging younger kids with STEM is to help them ask the "how"s and "what if"s of technology. Here's a quick read on how to approach engineering as an educator/parent.

For example, this summer, you may want to make your own ice cream at home. Here's a simple tutorial for how to do that. Following the activity, ask guiding questions to help kids make connections between the activity and how engineers serve the larger society. You can ask questions such as, "How do companies make large quantities of ice cream?", "What kinds of equipment would engineers need to create for ice cream factories?", "What if I wanted chocolate chips in my ice cream? What additional machines would factories need?"

Finally, you may want to show kids a fun video to reinforce this discussion, such as this video on how Ben & Jerry's ice cream is made.

Here are some other fun, easy, and laid-back STEM activities for the family this summer:

  • Build sand castles and discuss strategies for maintaining structural integrity
  • Race homemade boats and discuss the structural features that made the winning boat faster
  • Build a wind up toy or car and discuss the physics of the objects' movements, and how vehicles need energy to move
  • Build a kite and discuss how wind-powered technologies, such as sails, work
  • Try a new phone app and discuss the layers of programming involved in making it (e.g., text, sound, motion, cause and effect, sequences of actions) 
  • Introduce the concept of coding by using a sequencing challenge. Here is a funny example of a sequencing challenge between one dad and his kids!
  • Make Oobleck at home and discuss how this material (that acts like a solid but flows like a liquid) is similar to glass.

Feature your child's summer activities on Teaching Garage by emailing! Happy building!

Teaching Garage wants to help parents teach STEM this summer! From now until August 1st, use the discount code SUMMER2018 to take 50% off the first month's subscription to any Design SySTEM package!

Parents can also try out a free trial of Design SySTEM for activity ideas, anytime!