With just a few weeks left for the Summer holidays, many Aussie parents will be thinking about how they are going to keep their kids busy. Educational activities that are also exciting can be hard to find. These holidays are a great opportunity to inspire your kids with fun and engaging STEM activities (science, technology, engineering and maths).
Samsung and Questacon have shared with Kiddipedia a few of the educational activities that you can start doing with your kids.
- Take over your house with a giant Rube Goldberg machine, making one thing happen after another. Use a falling book to knock a ball to flip a bowl to land in a bucket to… the options are endless!
- Instead of playing video games, why don’t you code and create your own game using Scratch. Online at http://mit.scratch.edu, this block coding platform allows you to design and create your own stories, games and animations.
- Have some fun with bubbles! These round shapes made of soap and water are filled with wonder and a whole lot of STEM too! The beauty of bubbles is all to do with their physical properties: they reflect all the colours of the rainbow, they are spherical and they are light enough to float in the air. For a great bubble mix recipe, head to https://www.questacon.edu.au/outreach/programs/science-circus/videos/bubble-mix-recipe
- Create some colourful flowers in your home. Pick some white or light coloured flowers. Place them in a cup with water and a few drops of food dye. Watch what happens over a couple of days as the follower starts to change colour. If you want to get really tricky, try splitting the bottom of the flower stem into multiple sections and placing each into its own cup with different coloured food dye. What do you think will happen to the flower?
Josh Grace, CMO at Samsung Electronics Australia, said: “Australia’s STEM skill gap has been a national priority for some time now. Many young Australians are unable to make a clear connection between STEM subjects and relevant, inspiring careers. As a result, they become disengaged from STEM as early as primary school.
To address this, Samsung launched ‘This is a STEM Job’ in collaboration with Questacon. ‘This is a STEM Job’ is a national competition which aims to show young Australians that STEM goes beyond the traditional disciplines of science, technology, engineering and maths and is relevant to a range of future career paths and industries.
As part of the competition, Samsung partnered with three influential STEM Creators who use STEM skills every day. The first creator, Antonia Gauci, is a multidisciplinary engineer at one of Sydney’s most successful recording studios. The second creator, Gary Elphick is a surfboard innovator who uses the latest in cutting edge tech like 3D printing to rethink the way surfboards are built. Finally, Mark Liu is a sustainable fashion designer who uses complex formulas to rid waste when creating his garments.
Mr Grace said: “Through ‘This is a STEM Job’ we want to show young Aussies that STEM jobs are not just for people who wear white lab coats. STEM plays a massive role in some of the most exciting and creative jobs out there, including music, surfing and fashion.
“To help Australian parents inspire their kids and engage them in STEM these Summer holidays, we have compiled some fun tips and activities from Questacon and the STEM Creators. The number one tip from Samsung is to embrace technology as a tool for learning. Improving your child’s STEM skills can be as simple as downloading an educational app like Origami Paper SnipSnap or Magnifier & Microscope and experimenting with them.”
Mark Liu said: “Find your child’s passion. The easiest way to help your child learn is to find something that they are passionate about and encourage them to ask lots of how, when and why questions. Eventually, you will have to use STEM skills to explain them.
Gary Elphick said “Show them visually. Pure maths can be hard for many kids to visualise so it is important to show them real-world applications of how maths problems work.”
Broderick Matthews, National Programs Manager, from Questacon said: “Foster curiosity. Let your children explore but remember there isn’t a right or wrong way to do things. If you let children be the leaders, they will discover things in their own way and might surprise you with what they find out!”
For ‘This is a STEM Job,’ Samsung collaborated with the STEM Creators to develop three distinct briefs for young Australians to try and crack. Participants could either choose to create a piece of music; design the surfboard of the future or; design a piece of eco-friendly fashion. All eligible entrants have gone into the running to win a one-day internship with the respective STEM Creator to experience what they do on a day-to-day basis and see first-hand how they use STEM skills every day. The lucky winners were announced on 7 December.
For more information, please visit: www.thisisastemjob.com.au
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