Science, technology, engineering and math aren’t really what one would call easy subjects. They’re logical, rational and can be fun, but there’s a definite learning curve that most people need to navigate in order to become proficient.
When you’re first trying to master the basics of these subjects, the letters, numbers, symbols and equations on the page can look like Greek… and in many cases, they are! That can be intimidating, and one way that you can get around that during technology classes for kids is to use practical examples to illustrate abstract technical ideas. Here are a few things you could show children to demonstrate how these ideas work in the real world.
Newton was one of the biggest names in science, and we still use many of his theories and ideas in modern science. Sometimes, however, it’s fun to break all the rules, and non-Newtonian liquids are one of the best ways to do that. (Plus, they’re messy and goopy, which means double the fun!)
Newton came up with the concept of viscosity, which relates to the way that liquids behave, and non-Newtonian liquids smash that law into little pieces!
Simply add small amounts of water to a cup or two of cornstarch, until you reach a honey like consistency. Then have fun squishing it, and watching it go from liquid to solid right in front of your eyes!
Centrums in the Real World
At some point during their math and science education, your kids are going to run into the concept of centrums, which are the points on any shape where they can be hung or spun without losing balance.
A great way to illustrate this concept to your kids in the real world is to visit a construction site or ship yard, and watch cranes lift girders or containers without tipping them.
The Great Lever Lifting Contest
Another fun way to illustrate the real world applications of science, engineering and math during technology classes for kids is with levers.
Go out into the back yard, and place a cinder block or something else heavy on the lawn. Give kids a turn to try to lift it off the ground. Chances are, they’ll manage a few inches at best.
Now, place a smaller block a short distance away, and use a rod to lever the cinderblock off the ground. Take turns seeing who can move it furthest, but remember to keep everyone’s fingers and toes out of the way!
Making the Abstract Real
The truth is, most people struggle with STEM studies because the concepts seem abstract and foreign. When you find real world ways to show kids how those topics work in reality, you make them much less abstract and scary, and much more accessible and fun.
It’s not only little kids that benefit from this either. It’s also one of the reasons so many university and college STEM courses include mandatory practical studies in technology classes for kids. Seeing how the formulas on the page interact with everyday life is sometimes the only incentive necessary to keep learning, discovering and exploring.