Fantastic and Fabulous news in STEMex for the past 4 months!
Since our last blog post in August we have been quiet for a long while. A lot has happened in STEMex team.
We have launched our new website with more detailed information and updates on the courses details and activities. Major changes that we would love to draw your focus on including: Our brand new Forumplatform that allows parents and the STEM community to share their reviews.; Chinese is now available for our visitors; and we are beginning to produce more videos in our Youtubechannel to provide an insight in what we do in class. We have received tremendous responses from audiences of website, Google Display and YouTube channels. Thanks you all for your support!
Our Saturday Trial Class has received an encouraging response. A taste of our Robotics, Coding & Smart City courses allow us to explain more in-depth what’s inquiry-based learning approach to STEM and how kids benefits from this learning approach in cultivate innovation and creativity. We are happy to see the exciting growth of learners in our Saturday regular workshop and plan to further expand to weekdays after school workshop. Click here for details.
For all our school programs participants, we will be sharing class activities updates in our Forum. After creating an account, parents will be able to get regular updates and details on the STEM classes. We hope this brand new platform will allow everyone who will be joining our school programs to share their feedbacks and opinions.
We have also launched several new courses including: Roller Coasters, littleBits®, Wind-up Toys and new Minecraft® courses.
As of last year, we are continuing to support the community in promoting STEM. In December, we will be joining the DesignInspire Workshop organised by HK Trade Development Council and arrange Facebook Live during the workshop. In the workshop, We will be using littleBits® to promote Smart City concepts to students age between 7-11. Because of the superb response from the audience, we will be offering extra trial class on Dec 15th at our centre.
We will continue to work more harder to bring more new international STEM learning to HK market.
STEM Learning in school is not new but what makes the students feel differently. Fun and engaging STEM activities give primary school students an impressive experience what STEM is about and the fun of learning start from solving problems. When activities are designed around the world they are living, students will want to explore how things work. Curiosity is always the best thing to drive learning motivation. That’s the basic of “STEM for All” in primary school.
Turn Curiosity into Learning Motivation in School Curriculum
We have STEM session in primary school general studies subject. It’s a good opportunity to explore STEM together with kids during school lesson time. At different grades, there will have different topics and activities. STEM is a wide and interdisciplinary subjects. It could be around green energy, smart city, coding, robotics, force & motion. It’s not necessary to discuss all difficult theory behind but need to illustrates how it relates to our daily and future life in simple keywords and terms.
Build STEM culture in the whole school
STEM learning is just like language learning, we need to embrace it in our daily life. To create a STEM learning environment, a themed STEM week will be a great opportunity to arouse the whole school awareness for both students and teachers. Put aside the regular school time table in a morning or afternoon and attend a STEM session at your choice. The STEM products that kids design in the session will be the next few days topics in school and family.
More in-depth STEM Extra Curricular Activities (ECA).
If school wants to drive more in-depth participation for kids in STEM, ECA is one of the choice. Activities can be designed based upon the Robotics theme, Technology & Coding theme or Smart City & Energy theme. All based on Engineering Design Process (EDP) which allows kids to innovate from different real-life problems.
STEM Staff Development
Continuous Staff Development on STEM is cruical in school development. From awareness to students innovation boost up, all have different approaches and feedback collection process. We are happy to guide school to go through the process and share your ideas how we can do better for school STEM development in Hong Kong.
Funding Support for Continuous Development
STEM development needs resources support. Extra manpower, operation funding, venue and simple equipments. Continuous funding support is a must. Government Quality Education Fund (QEF) or any similar kind of funding support is definitely benefit to STEM development. We are happy to jointly work with you on proposal and implementation here.
Reading is enormously influential in children’s development so much so that culturally we promote the attitude that all reading is good reading. As science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—the STEM fields—have become increasingly prominent in many Primary and Secondary School classrooms as well as in out-of-school time settings, educators seek to connect children with high-quality reading materials (available in various formats, such as print books, e-books, reading apps, and other digital reading media) designed to bring STEM topics to young readers.
Reading texts with STEM themes is one of the best ways for students to build literacy skills (including how to read, write, and reason with the language and text) while learning STEM content and cultivating dispositions of science & technology. High quality STEM reading content can support students’
1. involvement in inquiry experiences,
2. grasp of necessary STEM concepts, and
3. understanding of the nature of science and technology.
So what’s the factors contributing to the success of STEM Reading?
1. Parental Influence: Parents have a large influence on their children’s interests. Parental level of education, parental support, and shared out-of-school time experiences influence student attitudes toward science & technology. We believe that after each STEM session no matter it is STEM Summer Camp or STEM Regular Workshop after school, listen to your kids what they have learnt and discuss how they come out their design.
2. Reading Techniques: Students with limited academic language proficiency will not come to understand words like “structure” or “function” by memorizing definitions. Rather, it is repeated exposure to these words, and opportunities to practice using them in authentic contexts, that allows students to own these words and use them with facility to support their understanding of technical or theoretical ideas. In each of our STEM session, we repeatedly use Engineering Design Process to keep your kids expose to related STEM keywords and instructor will encourage them to share their ideas using STEM knowledge and keywords.
3. Paper & e-book: Technological enhancements that make the reading experience different from traditional paper books, such as interactive features like games and “hotspots,” may cause cognitive overload due to task switching and/or multitasking, and eventually lead to poor performance on tests of vocabulary and story comprehension. On the positive side, well-designed e-readers with animated pictures and sound that are synced with the presented story’s text can facilitate the integration of nonverbal information and language, thus promoting their storage in memory. We aim to motivate your kids to learn STEM and no matter paper or e-book STEM reading material are both positive for your kids to keep their passion grows.
For sure your kids will be very excited about their coming summer holiday. No exam, no busy school schedule, no homework….but will it be also a good opportunity to build up a next level of relationship with your kids during summer? Have a fun and challenging Summer Camp will sure give a memorable experience to your kids, but you can get more from the experience. We offer a unique experience that both parents and kids will feel differently. Here are some of the reasons how we achieve.
1. We let kids experience real-life problems
All our courses are designed to solve different real-life problems at your kids level of understanding. No matter they use robotics, coding skill or any STEM related knowledge, they need to brainstorm, design, build, test then improve and test again in our Engineering Design Process. All these activities cultivate innovation.
2. We let kids involved and encourage to share their ideas
In each summer camp session, kids will be involved and our teachers will keep encourage them to share their ideas in front of a small team or at the whole class.
3. We encourage more diverse interaction
All interactions are very diversify. Inside the Engineering Design Process, your kids will expose to diversify actions from understanding the problems, brainstorming by asking and answering questions in related to the problems, design in their own knowledge how to solve the issue then test it. Instructors are trained to ask different questions that allow them to rethink how to improve. By repeating the cycles, your kids will gradually see how their solution works.
4. We let them fail
We can’t guarantee their design can success. We let them fail and rethink. It’s a process that allow them to grow.
5. We take a step back when instruct
We let your kids to freely design. They will ask when they forget or lose something. They own their design and want to make it works. These will develop their passion to learn how things work.
6. You can see what your kids are learning
Our centre allow parents to stay outside the classroom and see what their kids are learning. And with their unique design, we also encourage kids to share their product with parents after go home.
We aims to motivate your kids learning and develop the passion to explore and innovate.
Summer is incredible, right? No test, no homework schedule, no tutorial and free times abounds.
Yet after a week or so, boredom sets in, and kids and the couch start to become inseparable. Glued to smartphones while binging on YouTube, or just mindlessly mashing buttons as they play video games for hours on end.
Great for balancing out the unstructured, school-free times, summer camps are fun, build character, and provide opportunities for kids to meet new friends. When kids stay intellectually engaged during their holiday, allow them to solve right level of challenging problems, build their own design solution and test it under our interactive questions designed in our curriculum, they will be motivated and energised in the summer camp learning journey.
Here are seven tips on how to make the summer camp selection process a little more manageable.
1. Set your expectations
Before you can pick the right summer camp, you need to first define “right;” and you do so by setting expectations.
Start by asking one simple question—what do you want your children to gain from their experience? You send them to school so they can get smarter, and off to soccer practice so they can become a better stronger. Sending them to summer camp shouldn’t be any different.
The goal is to get kids excited about summer by finding programs that speak to their current interests. By starting the process with you and your child on the same page and speaking the same language, you’re more likely to find a camp you both love.
2. Select the right genre
Once you’ve established what you’re hoping to gain from camp, it’s time to narrow down the types of programs that can meet those needs.
Whatever the types of programs you select, if you think of long-term development for your kids, then you need to observe their changes of behaviours, what they share with you after the activities, how they see different things, what type of questions they raise and what’s their feedback to the courses. By observing these changes, you will notice that whether it is what you and your kids expect and how you both can further develop from this angle onwards.
3. Find instructors your kids will adore
To start, they should be passionate about teaching kids. We’ve all seen the instructors who are attached to their smartphones; that’s not who you want supervising your children. Instead, instructors should be fun, upbeat, and both passionate and knowledgeable about the subjects they’re teaching.
Determining the quality of instructors before attending camp is difficult, but doable. Check if they provide student and parent reviews or references. Come to the class and observe how your kids doing so as to confirm as well
Last, look for low student-to-instructor ratios and be sure your that your camp runs background checks on all instructors. Safety first!
4. Don’t be afraid to research.
Luckily, there are many ways to learn more about camps that catch your kid’s interest. Ask around and see where other friends have sent their kids to camp. A personal recommendation is often a great indicator of what your student’s experience will be like. Plus, kids always have a great time when they get to attend camp with a few friends.
At STEMex, we design our summer camps with your kids creativity in mind. We aim at inspiring your kids in our Engineering Design Process that motivate your kids long term innovation learning journey in all aspects not just for technology field but other humanity areas. Find out more from our holiday camp page https://www.stemex.org/holiday-camp
We are quickly approaching the summer months. After busy school life and stressful examination, you and your kids properly want to have a FUN summer time. Yes, but it could be more!
While it’s always amazing to see our learners are having great time in our summer camp, it’s the benefits and positive outcomes really stand out.
What qualifies us to write why STEM summer camp is good for kids?
Since Engineering For Kids launched in US, we have trained up 350,000 students around the world. While a lot of young minds absorb the benefits of STEM experiences, that’s even more parents witnessing growth and development in their children. Thus, there is plenty of feedback to draw from and report on.
Here we share a few favourites feedback collected so far:
1. Allows a deep dive into new found skill
Even some of the schools offer STEM related activities, summer camp allows deeper dive.
Think about giving your child a week or more to be immersed in building Smart City, or specific skill-building likes Robotics or Technology & Coding. These opportunities exist at summer camp, and it’s tough to find such focused activity elsewhere.
Plus, kids and teens are able to really get out of their comfort zone to take some risks with their skills, without fear of failure and resulting negative consequence. In fact, in our Engineering Design Process, we encourage learners to brainstorm, design, test and then improve and redesign. That’s what our learners like most in their class.
2. Allows kids to express themselves creatively
All the problems designed in the course are new to most of the learners. They need to understand and suggest a solution to solve the problem independently when they work in individual task or work collaborative with others when the problem request them to work in group. In both situation, learners need to explain why they design their solution in this way and test. Instructors will stimulate their thinking with questions on their design based upon our course design methodology. Learners will then need to redesign and retest until they search for their best result.
3. Allows confidence to be reinforced
Whether it is Smart City design or Robotics & Coding, every STEM activity comes with its own set of mini milestones and tests. Some of these activities might be brand new to your child, while others could be extensions of what they already know.
Maybe they’ve never played robot before, or perhaps they’ve played robot but have never attempted a basketball shooting using robots. By putting the robots in a real-life situation problems, they need to design, test and redesign to achieve the given goal and thus an increase in confidence will result when they master. From there, your student leaves camp with internal support strong enough to compel them to try out for other robotics & coding related activities…and then who knows what they will become.
4. Allow your kids stay intellectually engaged
Some parents complain summer learning loss or summer brain drain for their kids during the long vacation. STEM camp stimulates learners mental thinking on solving real-life problems no matter your choice of the camp. The mental stimulation may also help your kids find a new interest that further enable them for next level of personal development.
5. Build resilience for your kids
This is a culmination of many of the above benefits. New interests confidence, independent thinking, creativity senses. All of these things contribute to the development of your child as they make strides from being a kid to a strong, considerate, competent adult.
6 It is is Fun and Entertaining
There are many factors that go into the decision to send your child to summer camp, and it shouldn’t hinge solely on whether or not they need to be entertained for a week or couple weeks.
Summer camp is many things. If you regularly send your kids to camp, now you have a few new benefits to look out for, and harvest in your children.
If you send your son or daughter to camp to have fun, that is great! But also try and prep them beforehand to ensure they maximize their ability to attain the benefits above.
And last, if you haven’t yet sent your child to camp, and you’re wondering what summer camp does for kids, I hope this helps in your future planning.
Next step? Just think about camp differently and we will continue to share the tips for selecting summer camp in our blog.
A first-of-its-kind study by Michigan State University researchers found that early childhood educators’ self-reported ability and enjoyment was high for literacy, but much lower for science and math. Such finding echoes the recent survey conducted by the Federation of Education Workers in Hong Kong that only 36% of teachers are confident teaching STEM.
While we acknowledge that providing quality early-childhood STEM education is one way to boost up their innovation capability, parents and community need to do more to help our next generation. Early childhood period is a time when kids begin developing knowledge and skills for science, children age 4-6 have the capacity to engage in and learn from scientific thinking.
If preschool teachers struggle with science due to lack of quality training, preparation or an aversion to STEM, parents and community can act the role of connecting quality STEM learning through after school or parents-child activities. It needs to be fun and challenging, aiming at motivating kids to explore and experiment using different science materials. Different age groups will have different learning objectives. Students collaborating
Junior kids age between 4 to 6 need to emphasis individual discovery and inquiry. Exploration of STEM through authentic hands-on experiences and real-world application will help inspire them for further investigation.
When interests built, kids age between 7 to 10 will expect to solve fun and engaging challenges. Our role will be to help them reflect, connect and apply to real-world. It will be more effective if it constructs authentic, open-ended designs in collaborative small groups.
Teenage learners will expect to create collaborative solutions to complex problems using technology, science and math. Our role will help them discuss current events and explore future questions related to the various fields of STEM.
To close the gap of STEM learning, it demands parents and community to explore more. In STEMex, we strive to minimise the gap through our community STEM programs. In March 2018, we will start launch our first parents-child activities for parents to join STEM with their kids age 4-6 on every Sunday morning. Stay tune for our announcement!
In late 2017, SCMP has two articles published in related to STEM education in Hong Kong. It’s no doubt that STEM is the trend for our future and it needs to start introduce from elementary school. But reports show that majority of Hong Kong teachers are not confident teaching STEM subjects and the concept and curricular framework of STEM is different from traditional science subjects.
Parents often wonder if STEM education is just the traditional education in science and mathematics with a new name. The key factor is innovation. Showing children and young adults how to develop new ways to solve existing problems leads to a reason for this area of study. When children are asked to “ask questions, make observations and gather information about a situation that could be forecast in the future that can be solved through a new way of thinking”, we elevate the value of the learning to a new level. “Engineering Design Process” is designed to address this innovation process which in traditional science subjects couldn’t find and execute.
It is easy to think of STEM as a tech workshop. However, it is not. Although technology can play a role in understanding concepts such as coding and logic, the essence of STEM Learning is in teaching children a way of thinking as analysts. In other words, it is the development of the skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation that are at the core of a programme designed to teach children to be creative and innovative. The skills of solving existing problems with new ways of thinking can be addressed by creating challenges that are in the domain of science, technology, engineering and maths. The outcome of creating a curriculum that encourages skill development includes developing individuals who are less likely to be redundant in future workforces when automation changes employment opportunity. Students who have been taught the skills of remember, understand and apply may have little opportunity compared with students who are skilled in analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
However in the recent survey conducted by the Federation of Education Workers in Hong Kong, only 36% of teachers are confident teaching STEM. Although teachers are willing to devote more times for learning STEM, the global STEM challenges will demand us to response fast. Given the difference between STEM Learning and traditional Maths and Science teaching, joint development of schools and STEM learning providers will be the trend to speed up. While school focus on the overall children learning development, STEM learning providers drive more innovative learning process that stimulate children analysis, synthesis and evaluation skill in solving real-life problems using STEM knowledge.
As a STEM Learning Provider, we are happy to see these findings matching our observations and the principles of running our services.