When you see something you can’t explain, it can be easy to mistake those moments for magic, such as a balloon floating into the sky or water disappearing from a surface right before your eyes. However, the truth is these moments aren’t magic but science at play. Consider these simple tricks that help convey the “magic” of science.
Science Made Magical
(Family Features) When you see something you can’t explain, it can be easy to mistake those moments for magic, such as a balloon floating into the sky or water disappearing from a surface right before your eyes. However, the truth is these moments aren’t magic but scienceat play. Observing the laws of physics or chemistry can, at first glance, seem too fantastical to be explained, but science can explain a lot.
These moments serving as creative ways to engage kids in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning may be one of the best tricks of them all. STEM touches many aspects of daily lives, and finding the connections between the classroom and the “magical” STEM moments of day-to-day life can inspire children and pique their interests in these topics.
Consider these simple tricks that help convey the “magic” of science:
Knowing how the magic works doesn't necessarily make these tricks any less fun, and these simple tricks help teach children how STEM plays a role in everything, including fun and games. Another way to encourage children with STEM at an early age is encouraging them to participate in a program such as ExploraVision, the only STEM-related competition of its kind. It allows kids of all ages to create ideas for new technological innovations in response to current real-world issues. Participants work on their projects to supplement their science education, while also developing problem-solving, analytical and collaboration skills.
Parents and students can learn more about the competition and how to enter, and teachers can find free tips for engaging students, at exploravision.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
For millions of school-age children in the United States, each day begins – and ends – with a bus ride. These tips provide parents with some additional measures to take and lessons to teach to increase safety going to and from the bus, and even during the ride.
School Bus Safety 101
(Family Features) For millions of school-age children in the United States, each day begins – and ends – with a bus ride. While the school bus is the safest way to travel to and from school, according to the National Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT), it’s important for parents to teach their children how to stay safe in and around the school bus as obstructed views, distracted drivers and more can put kids at risk.
These tips from the experts at NAPT and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) provide parents with some additional measures to take and lessons to teach to increase safety going to and from the bus, and even during the ride.
Before the Bus Arrives
On the Bus Ride
Leaving the Bus
For more information and additional school bus safety tips, visit BetterOurBuses.com.
An Alternate Form of Transportation
Many school districts are moving away from diesel buses in favor of buses powered by an alternate fuel, like propane, which offers numerous benefits for school districts and their students.
In fact, school buses powered by propane transport approximately 928,000 students to and from school every day at more than 840 public and private school districts in 48 states, according to a vehicle registration report compiled by PERC using IHS Polk new vehicle registration data.
“There’s a lot to like about propane school buses for community stakeholders and school officials, and school districts across the nation continue to take notice,” said Michael Taylor, PERC director of autogas business development. “Compared to other fuels, propane school buses are quieter and offer reduced emissions. Plus, they cost less for the district to operate, so schools can put more money back into the classroom where it helps students most.”
Start a discussion with your children’s school district about exploring a switch from diesel buses to cleaner alternatives by first downloading resources including fact sheets, videos, a toolkit and more at BetterOurBuses.com.
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images (Bus driver with girl, Two girls talking on bus)SOURCE:
Propane Education & Research Council
When school is in session, it’s the perfect time to renew your family’s healthy eating habits by getting in a groove of lunchbox packing. While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be with customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes.
Pack a Healthier Lunchbox this School Year
(Family Features) When school is in session, it's the perfect time to renew your family's healthy eating habits by getting in a groove of lunchbox packing.
While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn't have to be. By taking the free Power Your Lunchbox Promise, you can gain access to customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes, which creatively include servings of fruits and veggies to keep kids' brains charged all day.
Making the promise not only signals a commitment to making healthier meal choices this year, it also helps those in need. For every promise made, health-focused partner brands will collectively donate $1 to Feeding America programs that support families and children. In addition to kid- and registered dietitian-approved breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner recipes, the promise website features coupons, health tips to help your family during the school year, lunchbox ideas and giveaways.
Additionally, teachers have a special section of the site where they can make the promise as a classroom and download free fruit and veggie themed classroom decor and lesson plans.
To find your lunchbox inspiration and make the promise, visit poweryourlunchbox.com.
Rainbow Bento Box
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Black Bean Empanadas
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Produce for Kids
Making sure your kids are ready to take on the world as adults is arguably one of the most important roles of a parent. Now, more than ever, education is the foundation of that preparation. As technology continues to evolve, it’s important that kids are learning, and also developing skills in high-demand areas, such as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Foundation for the Future
STEM plays a vital role in youth education
(Family Features) Making sure your kids are ready to take on the world as adults is arguably one of the most important roles of a parent. Now, more than ever, education is the foundation of that preparation.
The experts at the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, are aiming to raise awareness of the benefits for today’s students, and partnering with farmers to award STEM grants that enhance programming at rural public school districts.
While nearly everyone has heard about STEM education in one way or another, some people don’t understand its true value in school and in the workplace.
It’s cutting edge. When it comes to innovation, there’s no disputing that STEM is progressing changes throughout society. STEM fields are at the forefront of nearly all of the exciting modern developments, from the latest digital gadgets enabled by technology to ground-breaking scientific research. Another benefit of this progressive environment is the financial and social impact on the community. Skilled STEM workers are driving trends and innovations, which can create jobs and boost the economy. All of these attributes appeal to eager, young graduates looking to make their mark.
It’s where the jobs are. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report on the 10 fastest-growing occupations through 2026. In the report, 100 percent of the jobs fall into STEM categories, from the No. 1 growth career – solar photovoltaic installers – to a handful of medical field jobs to statisticians, software developers and mathematicians.
It’s a chance to make a real difference. STEM fields can drive true social change. Researching and uncovering new treatments, or even the cure, for a debilitating disease is only possible with skills gained through STEM learning. However, science isn’t the only STEM field that brings opportunities to make a difference in others’ lives. A career in technology could mean helping a child hear or see for the first time using a specially constructed device, for example.
It’s a stepping stone to dozens of industries. While STEM learning lends itself well to a fairly large scope of career choices, that list is ever-expanding. In fact, most of today’s graduates find themselves hard-pressed to secure a position without some STEM training. Consider a seemingly distant field such as fashion, for example, where digital technologies enable design sketching, mathematic skills factor into creating patterns and some engineering knowledge is necessary for designing a runway show. Beyond the less obvious career choices, STEM learning provides practical experience with methods of problem solving that can be applied to virtually any aspect of personal or professional life.
It’s helpful in developing additional skills. The specific training involved in STEM education can help lead to certain career paths that will be available in the future. However, it can also help with more general skills your child can use immediately. Students typically follow processes in STEM programming and training, such as the scientific method, that give them a chance to work with other students, test hypotheses and find solutions. These challenges can often help in developing teamwork, leadership and other collaborative life skills.
Learn more about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program at GrowRuralEducation.com.
Support STEM Learning
As a parent, there are many ways you can support STEM learning in your local school district. It’s little secret that school district budgets are continually shrinking, so an important way you can encourage STEM learning is by exploring funding opportunities that can bolster STEM programming.
Initiatives like America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education focus on bringing STEM education to rural school districts. Eligible farmers can nominate their local public school districts for the grants, which help enhance STEM education. Schools then participate in an application process to compete for $10,000 and $25,000 grants.
One school district in Royal, Washington, is utilizing the program to raise academic achievement for students in the classroom and on state-mandated math tests. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant allows teachers to extend learning for students, especially those who are learning English as a second language, who need intervention but lack the technology at home.
An important learning barrier is being removed through the use of Chromebooks and Kajeet, a system that allows internet connectivity but also has a filter to ensure the technology is limited to academic use. Learn more about the program and nomination process at AmericasFarmers.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (teacher with student)SOURCE:
It can be difficult for parents to know exactly when to start teaching their children how to identify colors and numbers or when the right time is to start reading to them. However, the earlier parents begin reading to their kids, the better prepared they can be once they reach school age. These tips can help inspire a lifelong love of reading.
Raising Eager Readers
Inspire your little ones to love reading
(Family Features) It can be difficult for parents to know exactly when to start teaching their children how to identify colors and numbers or when the right time is to start reading to them. However, the earlier parents begin reading to their kids, the better prepared they can be once they reach school age.
In fact, reading to children at home can set them up for success in school and in life, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. With the right resources, parents can influence their kids’ enjoyment of reading. These tips from the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, which aims to motivate kindergarten through sixth-grade students to read by rewarding them with praise and pizza, can help inspire a lifelong love of reading.
Read to your children early and often. Parental involvement is one of the best predictors of future academic achievement, according to research published in the Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community. Getting into a routine of reading to your children at a young age is a habit that can be pivotal to developing a love of reading. As you read, point out words, colors and images and ask questions about the story to help children develop a deeper understanding and relate what they have learned back to other books and activities.
Regularly visit the library. Libraries typically have lists available of favorite books for various age groups and can help parents and kids create reading lists of stories that match reading levels and interests. Additionally, attending “story times” and other library activities tailored to age-specific target audiences can expose your child to new books.
Make books easily accessible. Having multiple locations in the home where you keep books can inspire children to pick one up any time. Start with a main bookshelf in your child’s room that lets him or her easily see the titles, and place additional book storage locations in different rooms where your family typically spends the most time.
Get comfy. Creating the perfect spot (or spots) to read has a lot to do with individual children. While some prefer to read with mom and dad in a chair or on a couch, others prefer their own space where they can cuddle up with a good book. If space allows, consider dedicating a corner of your child’s bedroom or playroom as a “book nook.”
Take advantage of technology. The use of technology can aid in creating excitement about reading. To help develop strong reading habits and enhance your child’s vocabulary and ability to comprehend, consider supplementing traditional books with devices such as e-readers and tablets or smartphones equipped with age-appropriate reading and learning applications.
Keep reading. Children often see their parents as role models. If you read often, your children will be more likely to pick up the habit, as well, according to a BOOK IT! survey. It revealed that adults who have gone through the program are more likely to establish regular reading routines with their families, as 54 percent of the survey respondents said they read with their children every day, compared to 32 percent who did not participate in the program.
For more information and ways to help inspire young readers, visit bookitprogram.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Demand for workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers continues to explode. Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas to shake things up in the classroom or planning activities to share with the family at home, consider these creative approaches to increasing students’ interest in STEM topics.
Practical Ways to Promote STEM Learning
(Family Features) Demand for workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers continues to explode. Data from the U.S. Department of Education predicts that growth opportunities in these fields will increase 14 percent by 2020. One way to nurture kids’ long-term potential is to make learning STEM subjects fun, hands-on and interactive.
Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas to shake things up in the classroom or planning activities to share with the family at home, consider these creative approaches to increasing students’ interest in STEM topics.
Take a field trip: When learning occurs outside the confines of a classroom, it can create unexpected sparks of interest. Build classroom field trips or family outings around destinations that offer unique ways to highlight STEM subjects. For example, setting up a tour of a local baseball stadium may be a chance to get up close and personal with the game and the field, but it’s also a way to discuss the math behind baseball. Similarly, a visit to an indoor skydiving facility is more than just exposure to an extreme sport; it’s an opportunity to learn about terminal velocity and gravity. Additional options include an outdoor nature lesson, manufacturing facility, planetarium or local farm.
Introduce robotics: Between self-driving cars, drones that can aid in rescue efforts and robots that assist as a “butler” for day-to-day tasks, the future of robotics is here now. Researchers at Brandeis University found that students involved in robotics are two times more likely to take more challenging math and science courses and two times more likely to pursue STEM careers.
One option to increase students’ interest in robotics is the TI-Innovator Rover, a robotic car that introduces middle school and high school students to the basics of coding and programming. Students without any coding or robotics experience can learn to write basic programs on their TI graphing calculators that make Rover do things like draw, dance or even crash. Learn more about the first calculator-controlled robotic car at education.ti.com/rover.
Career show and tell: Seek out speakers or mentors who have real-world STEM careers, ranging from more traditional STEM fields like scientists or engineers to more unexpected jobs that use STEM principles every day, such as a fashion designer or an ice cream flavor scientist. Encourage kids to get hands-on with these careers by having guests both show and tell how they use math and science every day. For example, students can measure and cut materials to make a circle skirt, an unexpected lesson in geometry. Or they can scoop up a physics lesson on states of matter as milk transforms into ice cream.
Cook up some fun: When it comes to bucking tradition, the kitchen may not be the first place you think of to drive home the benefits of STEM learning. However, the kitchen is a perfect place to explore the chemistry of combining ingredients and hone math skills such as dividing fractions when splitting a recipe.
Solve real-world problems: Give students an opportunity to think through a real problem and come up with a solution. For example, challenge them to solve how they would create low-cost options for filtering water in countries without clean water. Through trial and error, students can learn that failure is OK and sometimes leads to a better solution.SOURCE:
Interested in Publishing on The Parenting IDEA?
Send your query to the Publisher today!