INTEGRATE STEM INTO COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
The most important aspect of STEM education is arguably making a positive difference in the community. Integrate this into the community with some of the most common activities. STEM is an important lifestyle component that some of the most successful and happy communities around the world have embraced.
Get Your Community Involved In This Learning Process
STEM is still a relatively new idea in today’s society. Societal expectations are slowly, but surely turning over to value science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a way that they never have before. Majority of the population in the United States of America and similar developed nations have adopted a lifestyle that is dependent on cell phones, laptops, computers, and medical equipment to function and thrive. Every person in these countries knows what it is like to have a medical test of some sort that requires medical technology, and nearly every person knows what it is like to watch a movie, write an email, or call a loved one on an electronic device. This aspect of life is so ingrained that even infants have had these experiences. Why not get the community involved and show them exactly what STEM is already doing for them and what they can do when everyone works together for a greater cause?
Here are just a few methods in which you can use STEM initiatives to bring your community together:
Hold A Community Event
There are literally hundreds of events that you can hold with the help of members in your community. The most important thing that you do is gather a group of community members and see what they are all thinking and what they would like to see happen in their community. From there, you can choose to point out the aspects of this event that are directly STEM-related, or you can choose to hold a number of events and string the common threads together for your community to see at the end of a set period of time. It may be fun for you to hold events that your community may not first assume are STEM-related at all, and then educate them on how they are promoting STEM education.
Here are just a few event ideas that you can use in your community today:
Meal Benefits: Do you know what kind of good your community can do with a meal benefit? You can choose to support members of the community that are facing hardships like a loss of a loved one or the diagnosis of a difficult medical condition. You may choose to fix up the heater at the local church or raise the funds to create a handicap ramp at a popular business or facility in your area. At the bare minimum, you and your community will be working on networking, handling cash transactions, the measurements that are required to prepare meals, and most importantly unity.
Carnivals And Fun Fairs: This is an excellent opportunity for you and the members of your community to interest children in STEM. You could hold different games that require mathematical knowledge, science skills, or critical thinking processes to “win”. You may have stations where children can build projects and fun crafts with their parents to take home and treasure forever. The STEM-related possibilities are endless, and undeniably fun.
Relays and Races: The growing era of STEM is growing right alongside the growing era of fitness and 5Ks. Why not use this opportunity to show how physical fitness is not its own category across the room from STEM? You can use your creative thinking skills on this.
Do Home Repairs for Those In Need
Every community from the richest to the poorest has a family, or families, that need home repairs but cannot afford them due to financial or medical reasons. While it is not feasible to place cost and labor on a single person or small group, it is feasible when you get the entire community involved. You can use these opportunities to measure out angles, get skill crafters to cut and style materials, and teach children what kindness can do for those that really need it. You will be amazed at how hard it is to build something like a ramp or rebuild a porch without mathematics, science, technology, and engineering. You may even say that the task is nothing short of impossible without STEMing into your well-meaning community. The bonus here is that many high school students around the country are required to build a certain number of volunteer hours in order to graduate. You can take this opportunity to expose them to real life adventures as a STEM enthusiast while giving their brains and their muscles a steady workout.
Build a Community Garden
Building a community garden has been mentioned repeatedly as it is one of the best ways to promote STEM in the community. There are so many lessons that can be learned by planting, growing, weeding, harvesting, and preparing the fruits and vegetables that are grown in a community garden. Many parents and older generations have had the opportunity to grow gardens in their own yard, but very few children find that sort of labor intriguing. If the garden is taken to the community level, it is much easier to let children work with each other to figure out how they want to plant certain plants and where they would like to plant them. Older individuals can help children with the more complicated or dangerous tasks involved. You may say “we need so many tomatoes planted, so many carrots planted, and so many peppers planted” giving them the task of managing space efficiently to meet the numbers required.
You can even let children explore and experiment with planting different things that you know will not grow. You may, for example, let them plant the seeds of a hamburger bun or small candies and give them the task of figuring out if those items will grow faster or slower than the tomatoes right next to them. The more fun you and your community can make this for everyone involved, the more likely that impressionable minds will be to want to eat the fruits and vegetables that they grew with their own hard work.
The important thing to take note of here is that STEM plays a vital role in everyday life. There are very few, if any, aspects of society that have never relied on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, either individually or collectively. Unfortunately, many people do not truly understand how much of their lives are impacted by these elements of learning. That is why it is crucial, now more than ever, to show your community how STEM education has been integrated into their lives and how they can use to it make life better for everyone. A community that is all on one page and working toward a shared goal is a community that will be successful and thrive in the face of any past, present, and future adversity.