5 Tips To Choose The Best STEM Workshop / Class For Your Child
STEM workshops and classes are everywhere nowadays. If you've ever looked for one for your child, odds are that you've been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options out there.
From lego engineering to coding and programming, how should you find the STEM workshop or class that is best for your child? In this article, we lay out five key tips and points for you to consider.
What is STEM and why is it important?
Simply speaking, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
STEM education combines the four subjects and applies it to solving real-world problems – constructing buildings on steep mountains, turning saltwater into drinkable water, even baking cakes – it’s all STEM!
Every child can benefit through STEM education. By challenging children to solve real-world related problems with experiments, STEM teaches children to think logically, critically and out of the box.
Other than thinking scientifically, STEM promotes learning through hands-on experiments and learning from failures. Therefore, STEM also teaches children to become curious and self-motivated learners.
Want to sign your child up for the weekend STEM workshop? Here are 5 things to look out for!
Solving real-world issues and problems should be at the centre of every STEM programme. The ultimate goal is for children to understand how things taught in the classroom impact their daily lives!
The topic that the workshop covers should be understandable, relatable and authentic. What you absolutely don’t want is for your child to feel that what they have learnt is irrelevant and boring.
Ultimately, your child’s biggest takeaway from the workshop should be how they can use STEM to improve the world around them!
2. Does it promote inquiry-based learning?
In short, inquiry-based learning breaks down the process of problem-solving into different stages, such as ASK (identifying the problem), INVESTIGATE (planning and creating a solution), CREATE/REFLECT (testing and learning from the solution) etc.
Inquiry-based learning enhances the learning experience as students are actively in charge of their learning while teachers act as facilitators.
Teachers should also be actively encouraging your child to think critically and solve problems through experiments with this framework.
So next time before looking at a workshop’s fancily-worded curriculum, examine the teaching approach!
3. Does it have a hands-on, student-centred approach?
STEM workshops should be an opportunity for children to learn what they like, how they like. Your child should be the one exploring, asking questions and solving problems through hands-on experiences.
For example, if your child wanted to learn about the complex concept of electricity – they’d learn much more from actually building a circuit by hand than just listening to teachers explaining it. These experiences equip children to become self-directed and self-motivated learners.
At the end of the day, it would simply be a waste of time and money if your child cannot take anything away (knowledge or experiment) from the workshop!
4. Does it promote teamwork and collaboration?
There’s no problem in the world that can be solved by one person – collaboration is part of our modern world. STEM workshops should encourage and enable your child to learn and solve problems in a group setting.
Learning in a group setting encourages students to create and be critical of their own ideas. It also creates a learning community that values diversity and provides experiences that develop both good learning and social skills.
Use the teacher-to-student ratio as a reference to evaluate the teaching approach!
5. Does it encourage learning from failure?
Learning from failure is arguably the most important skill for STEM education – it teaches children how to improve upon their mistakes.
It took Thomas Edison a thousand tries to create the lightbulb – yet each of them were seen as successful by the inventor because it helped him improve the final product!
There’s no guarantee in STEM that an experiment would work as planned. Therefore, both educators and children should learn to embrace failures and use them as a stepping stone to success.
Observe and listen closely to the teacher and children’s conversation to examine their mindset!
STEM Workshops by Big Bang Academy
Big Bang Academy hosts weekend workshops and creates experiences your child won’t get in school classrooms. With fun, lively demonstrations and hands-on experiments, rest assured your child won’t leave empty-handed.
Our seasonal workshops cover topics ranging from chemistry, biology, physics and more! We also invite industry experts and guests and explore the latest topics and issues in the world.
We believe in learning hands-on. This is why every workshop comes with hands-on experiments your child can take home! Better yet, our parent-child workshops are also a great opportunity for you to spend quality time with your child.
Big Bang Academy is a hybrid science learning hub. We are committed to make science approachable and relatable to children through hands-on experiments and learning. By showing them that science is something they can do with their own hands, we transform children into curious and motivated learners.
Through our online learning platform Big Bang Lab and experiment boxes, your child can learn science anytime, anywhere. With interactive story-based science lessons, families can explore science through interactive story-based video from the comfort of your home!