minorities STEM field

Promoting the STEM Field at Home

Posted on Posted in Blog, Color Me Educated, Science

Promoting the STEM Field at Home

 
Do you encourage your little boy or girl to become an engineer? Perhaps a doctor or a scientist? My son is very ‘sciencey’, his word – not mine.  For the most part, my oldest and youngest daughters are not as enthused about science and math.  I love science, my husband math.  We would like for all of our children to at least take an interest in some aspect of math or science.  I confess that I probably displaced some of my discomfort with math once my oldest daughter’s homework started to include numbers AND letters. 
We know that interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is yet another way to promote critical thinking/problem-solving skills.  So, I am trying to make up for it now.  In fact, one study has indicated that parents can influence their child’s comfort level with math.  Furthermore, STEM courses are typically academically rigorous, not to mention the wave of STEM careers that are in high demand.  We want our children to not only have vast educational opportunities but also aspirations.  If they do choose to venture into the STEM field they will be among the few, since:
In 2004 African Americans made up  only 3.1% of the engineers, while Hispanics made up only 4.9%
In 2008 the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showed that:
  • African-Americans comprised 6 percent of the life science degrees and 5 percent of math/engineering/computer science degrees.
  • Hispanic students comprised 7 percent of the life science degrees and 8 percent of math/engineering/computer science degrees.
Looking back I think the closest I ever came to meeting a ‘real-life’ scientist was my science teachers.  Chemists or engineers were not prevalent in my neighborhood.  The teachers and nurses I saw seemed to be a more tangible dream.  Fortunately, our children have a more diverse neighborhood and a little STEM pushing/nudging at home.

Tips for Promoting an Interest in STEM:

 

For the Big Kids:

Introduce other people of color in the STEM fields via your child’s interest:
For example, if your child is interested in hair care.  Let them know that Madame C J Walker was a chemist.  She created/invented her own line of hair care products – she definitely counts.

inventor chemist madame c j walker

Encourage your budding chemist to come up with their own products.  
Make available to them the scientific method to help guide their thinking and process.
 

For the elementary kids:

Conduct science experiments together:
My son loves these Lab in a Bag experiments.  There are usually several different experiments in a bag. Short on time? Do one experiment and then comeback when you have more time!

science experiments for kids

Got more time and cash on your hands? Try your local science/museum.  We have EdVenture and they have wonderful science activities.
 

For the Preschool and Kindergarten kids:

Make bubbles to introduce how fun and simple science can be.  

Use the following supplies, follow these directions and get ‘sciencey”!
 

 

 

What ways do you encourage the STEM fields at home?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “Promoting the STEM Field at Home

  1. Hi there. I encourage stem fields by allowing my 3 year old son to cook and bake with me. the measuring and the interaction of different ingredients have a chemical reactions when mixed together. I make those comments often for him to make the connection when he is school aged. Great article. It is indeed a journey….

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