3 Secrets for STEM Success

Set your child up to love science with these age-by-age steps.

By Sarah Pottieger



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Ages 3 to 5

Instill a Love of Nature

Regularly bring your child to natural history museums, aquariums, even ponds. Take your time, giving him free reign to explore whatever he likes. What does nature have to do with engineering or math? It provides plenty of opportunity for tactile discoveries — think slimy sea critters or craggy meteors — and helps fuel curiosity. With a sense of wonder in place from the start, an interest in science has an easier time taking root.

Ages 6 & 7

Encourage Teamwork

Now’s the time to get your child involved in community activities, from neighborhood gardens to playground make-overs. These types of experiences build on that earlier sense of natural curiosity. Plus, working alongside other kids, as well as adults they know, makes children this age feel secure. That security feeds the ability to think independently and offer new ideas to a group, a mark of scientific investigation.

Ages 8 to 10

Boost Critical Thinking

Suggest your kid get involved in school activities that promote analysis and strategy, the foundation for figuring out complex math or science problems. Some activities are obvious (chess club, say), but even student government can teach your child to work collaboratively to solve problems. This is the perfect age to consider a science or tinkering class — and get tweens coding. (See “We Can Code!”)

The Benefits of "Tinkering"
Sneak in Some Science
Super-Easy Ways to Boost Early Math Skills
9 Great Apps For Math: A Grade-by-Grade Guide

Source: Lauren Birney, Ed.D., assistant clinical professor of education and co-director of the Pace STEM Collaboratory at Pace University in New York City

Photo Credit: Guido Mieth/Getty Images

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