Recognizing the Importance of STEM Education is a sponsored post via Cooperatize for Discovery Education. All opinions are my own.
Those that know me will already know I have a passion for education and a long history of involvement in areas of STEM education. I love science and math as evidenced by multiple degrees in those areas.
Additionally, I have loved sharing with not only my own boys through homeschooling but also other students. I’ve taught science classes in co-operative settings as we as in my home over the last 12 years.
What is STEM Education?
If you are not familiar with the acronym, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We aren’t doing engineering studies per se, but we do have science, technology, and math happening in the house. My eldest son is the one digging into engineering now as he is studying for a degree in mechanical engineering.
The beauty of teaching these subjects from an early age is that kids are naturally curious about the world around them. They want to figure out how things work or why things are the way they are. This is a reason why delight learning is my preferred method for early elementary. Get them interested early and it is easier to keep them hooked!
Sometimes it is something as simple as making muffins to observe chemical reactions or trying to remove oxidized copper from pennies that will spark a young child’s passion for science.
Young Scientist Challenge
This past October, 3M and Discovery Education celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Young Scientist Challenge. This is considered the premiere middle school science competition. Ten finalists competed at a live event at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn. The scientist deemed the best is awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” as well as a $25,000 prize.
Leading scientists from 3M provided guidance to the finalists as they worked through the scientific method to advance their ideas from a theoretical concept into a physical prototype. Using resources and support provided by 3M and Discovery Education, the 3M mentors and finalists shared their passion for science, reviewed the scientific process and worked virtually through pre-assigned objectives.
The winner for 2017 is 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao, a student from Lone Tree, Colorado who attends the STEM School and Academy.
Gitanjali is working to develop Tethys, a sensor-based device that can detect lead in water faster than other current techniques.
Rather than using expensive equipment for testing, Gitanjali’s cost-effective approach to water safety uses a mobile app that populates the water’s status almost immediately. Tethys is designed to be portable and easy to use, allowing individuals to test water safety whenever needed. She hopes to solve the water contamination crisis and decrease long-term health effects from lead exposure.
I highly suggest taking a look at the Young Scientist Lab site where you can learn more about the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. There are also materials available through Discovery Education Streaming Plus. You never know if YOUR child will be the next recognized Americas Next Top Young Scientist!
Do you or your children enjoy STEM education?
What are some ways you get the kids excited to dig deeper into STEM subject areas?