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Friday, July 20, 2018

Best STEM Tips for Homeschooling - Engineering

Everywhere these days it is STEM this, STEM that, but what are some ways to incorporate that into your own home school curriculum? And, if you are a little shaky on the subject, what would be the best way to approach it? How do you know you are teaching it in the right way?  If you are like me, you may have asked these very questions.  It is important in our home school experience to have a heavy focus on tech, science, and math. My son loves all things computer and robotics oriented, and I want to help him get as close to his dreams of being an engineer or software designer as possible.

Luckily, there are some AMAZING resources available for free, thanks to the Museum of Science in Boston.  I discovered their two programs, Engineering Adventures  and Engineering Everywhere, last year when my son started 6th grade.  Now, the Engineering Everywhere curriculum is focused more for grades 3-5, but we went through all of the Adventures in 6th grade, and we had an absolute blast!  So don't be afraid to start it a little later, you are guaranteed to have fun and learn a ton of information.

Each of the curriculums are downloadable at the Engineering is Elementary website. They are broken up into segments, each focusing on a specific field of engineering, such as structural, aeronautic, or chemical. The adventures start with 2 preparatory lessons that get your student thinking about engineering, and then have about 6 lessons each that culminate in a showcase of the student projects.

Designed originally for afterschool STEM education, they are easily adapted to function in a home school environment. Each downloadable segment contains an educators guide, student workbook, and additional audio or video files if necessary.  A handy list of required materials is in the educators guide, and you can scale it back to fit the number of kids you teach.  All the materials I have found to be easily available locally, or inexpensive to order from websites such as Amazon or AliExpress.

I think one of the funnest adventures last year was the one on Avalanche Engineering in the Engineering Adventures series. My son came up with an amazing system to block avalanches from his "town", and it really inspired him to think outside the box, even more than he already does! We can hardly wait to use Engineering Everywhere in our 7th grade curriculum!

But don't take my word for it, head over to  Engineering is Elementary and download one or two of the adventures yourself, and you will be able to incorporate an interesting, rich learning experience into your next school year in no time at all!
-Professor Bananas

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