Reflecting back on my education as a child, math and science do not bring back grand moments of learning for me. I remember the high points in science when we were able to do hands on activities and really see first hand the “hows” and “whys” of concepts we were learning. Those days were exciting, but sitting and reading out of a book was hard for me to make some of the connections. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s important to be able to listen to a lecture and read from text, but how much more does one get out of a lesson when its hands on and meeting multiple sensory needs for a child? A lot more, in my opinion.
S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is a huge buzz word that you hear a lot now a days in the education world. Why? Because it is an important concept that represents science, technology, engineering, and math, which are some of the leading skills that will one day shape our nations workforce. It also allows our children to build a strong foundation in multiple subjects all while having FUN.
By implementing S.T.E.M. activities into your home, classroom, or homeschool you’re giving your child access to a higher quality of learning; engaging in multiple subjects while learning, as well as working on critical thinking skills, and different ways or strategies to problem solve (trail and error especially), and make connections through creative play. These reasons alone are making me step out of my comfort zone and make science more fun for my children at home. One of the ways we are doing this is by exposing our children to fun, hands on activities that promote S.T.E.M.
We recently tried out the Magtronix from Junior Learning. It is a S.T.E.M Electronic Circuit. We started with the 11 piece starter set. It contained 10 electronic pieces (switch, battery pack, buzzer, LED, 5 direction pieces and motor), a helicopter and an activity guide with circuit ideas.
Honestly (can’t believe I am telling you this), I was a little nervous trying this activity out because I know very little about circuits and by little I mean none. Was I going to find all the pieces to a doorbell and have to assemble it? Is it one of those activities that say they’re for the child but really the adult has to do 98% of the assembling?!? I put my fears aside and took the opportunity to learn alongside my children and was I ever wrong.
The Magtronix is completely child led. The starter set activity guide was a great introduction to show us different diagrams that MY CHILD could build and create. It went from my oldest child who is six years old, telling my middle daughter, “Come check this out!!!”, to my son (two years old) listening to my daughter giving him instructions on how to build and create a flying helicopter spinner. Not long after that, my husband came in because there was lots of excitement from all the different circuits they created! It was so much FUN and a family affair.
There was a variety of questions, problem solving, experimenting, and math that took place during our activity.
Discovering and questioning the Magtronix, saying:
“Why is it not working?”
“Are these connected in the correct spot?”
“It needs to send energy from the battery through those spots?”
“Follow the pattern”
“It used the battery power to shoot the helicopter blades up!”
“Can I help you make it work?”
Coming together as a family, learning new S.T.E.M concepts, creating, and working together is the perfect recipe for playful learning.