We know that parents lives are constantly bombarded with information regarding their childrens education. Lately, schools have tried to implement a lot of STEM Education into their classrooms – but there is simply not enough time to delve deeply enough into these subjects. At VisionTech, we offer STEM camps such as Robotics, Programming, and Engineering that allows kids to further investigate STEM subjects. To understand STEM summer Camps, we want to first explain what is STEM Education. With that in mind, we’ve come up with seven tips that we call STEM Education 101 for parents.
- What Is STEM Education? STEM education uses an interdisciplinary approach to teaching that provides instruction on demanding academic precepts alongside real-world applications. The goal is to prepare students for the future careers in fields involving science, math, and technology. In an increasingly competitive world, kids need a stronger foundation in mathematics and science – not only for their careers, but for future interest in entrepeneurship as well.
- What Are the STEM Foundation Courses? The acronym “STEM” stands for science, technology, engineering, and math education. These are the core concepts that link many job fields together – allowing people to collaborate and work together on complex projects involving these fields. Likewise, students can learn an incredible amount about subjects such as mathematics, which can be boring, while learning technology subjects such as programming or game design – while having fun. For example, if a child is learning to design a video game, they must first comprehend the concepts of three dimensional cartesian coordinates and vector mathematics. These are difficult mathematical concepts, but in a game design environment, kids don’t feel overwhelmed by the theory of the subject, but are motivated by the desire to complete their game project.
- STEM Promotes Math and Science Proficiency: Studies have shown that children immersed in the STEM core subjects from a young age perform better in math and science than those who are not exposed to STEM education. In addition, anecdotal evidence has shown that children immersed in STEM education graduate from high school in greater percentages and often go on to follow math or science in college and later in careers. At VisionTech summer camp, kids can immerse themselves in a variety of STEM subjects, such as engineering camp, where 3D Printing – a necessity for many future engineering careers – is introduced to students along with 3D modeling software. At this camp, students not only design their 3D models, but also learn engineering concepts such as scale models and iterative design.
- STEM Activities at Home: Even at home, kids can engage in a variety of STEM activities with simple household goods – for example, kids can learn about structural engineering while playing with LEGO or K-NEX. While building LEGO structures, parents can have a discussion about shapes, scaling, and strength – or challenge their kids by restricting the number and type of pieces kids can use to build a skyscraper. More complex engineering concepts can be discussed with LEGO gears – teaching kids about gear ratios, torque, and speed.
- Learning Computer Languages: Early exposure to programming languages teaches children how to bridge the digital and physical worlds – for example in our LEGO robotics summer camp, kids not only learn to design their robot, but program it using a graphical programming language – thus visually connecting the commands they write to the result on the robot. As kids progress, they can learn more complex programming languages including Python, Java, and C. We are also in the age of the Internet of Things, where all household items are becoming “smart” and integrate with our smartphones, our homes, and our cars – necessitating an increasing need for our children to be technologically savvy. By nature, our children are extremely curious, and are capable of learning these technologies on their own, but at VisionTech, we guide them to a more complete understanding of any subject matter they’re interested in. Programming – while taught rote might seem boring – but at VisionTech, we combine programming with fun projects such as modding a game, creating a virtual simulation, or teaching a drone to fly – in order to show students both the real world applications of programming, and to inspire them into tech fields.
- Mixing Artistic Design with Robotics: For those of us brought up with printers that were little more than glorified copiers, it may take a bit of imagination to think of a printer as a synthesizer but that’s what a 3D printer is: an industrial — synthesizing — robot. Some scientists think that 3D Printing is a forerunner of a third industrial revolution. In the future, workers will send a blueprint anywhere in the world to a 3D Printing robot that will combine and layer special inks to manufacture any type of three-dimensional object. At VisionTech’s engineering camps, we show students the possibilities of 3D printer in order to inspire the critical thinking that we need to bring new world inventions to fruition.
- Engineering Technology: At VisionTech, we keep our technology current – Legos 30 years ago were one step up from the building blocks of yesteryear, but today, even LEGO has embedded technology such as robotics into their LEGO platform. Today, Lego Robotics courses teach children to design robots using engineering concepts – a step up from simply designing structures.
To talk more about STEM, or VisionTech’s enrichment summer camps with engineering, robotics and programming components, or anything else, please contact us. We look forward to helping you prepare the children in your life for the challenges of their future.