Our friends at Ohio State University’s Family Engagement Center are known for their incredible resources to support family learning. In their most recent newsletter, they featured our activities for STEM learning at home.
For educators encouraging family engagement in STEM at home:
Empathize with families. All families are busy and have many priorities competing for their time and energy. Design STEM activities for learning at home that are easy to fit into an otherwise busy schedule. Provide all needed resources or offer activities that use resources commonly found in the neighborhoods, backyards, and homes of your students. Ensure that STEM activities for learning at home are within children’s independent learning level.
Elevate STEM. Reduce any apprehension families may experience by keeping activities fun and breaking down all tasks into simple steps. Build confidence by inviting them to explore together as a family, without the pressure of getting the “right” answer.
Use ordinary language. Avoid technical terms and professional jargon. Create activities that do not require any prior knowledge in STEM.
Ask for feedback. Encourage two-way communication from families so that you can assess how activities are being experienced at home.
Make connections. Share with families how they can continue the learning with other content connections (e.g., through literature, YouTube videos, common household chores, etc.
The Family Engagement Center also had great tips for schools inviting STEM engagement with STEMNext research, developing a growth mindset for families, and identifying the social-emotional connections in STEM. Find more on their website or explore EiE Famlies and STEM Events.