I had the opportunity to attend and present at the YMCA Youth Development Summit this week and went to a workshop about facilitating quality STEM activities that will support Character Development. There a tons of activities that you can implement with your participants and staff. Our workshop facilitator used fruit to control his power point presentation. I easily get distracted and thought it was so cool that you could use fruit for circuitry and coding. The circuit board is from a website called Makey Makey that has a blog with tons of ideas to help you with STEM. This circuit board is currently $31.78 on Amazon. This is a very affordable activity for your participants!
When working with STEM, you are able to see and teach many important lessons. I also love that you can dive deeper into a certain topic. For example if you are working on transportation, ask your participants tons of questions around this to get their minds moving and excited. During the activity your participants are able to learn scaffolding techniques, relationship building as they work in groups, utilizing different roles to promote responsibility, and supporting youth with managing emotions. When working with staff, use STEM activity for an ice breaker. This will be a fun way to introduce STEM to them and also give them hands on learning so they can lead their participants. I think visually giving them an activity is the best way to teach STEM. Notebooks are great, but you have to apply the learning.
During the activity there are 4 strategies you should do…
- Ask Open Ended Questions
- What’s Working, What’s Not
- Support Youth Investigation
- Allow Time To Discover Strength
Then when the activity is over, it is important to do these 3 strategies…
- Reflect – Great way for your participants to recognize each other
- Make a connection
When you develop these skills with your participants, this can lead to increased excitement in working in this field. In May 2016, there were 8.8 million science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs, representing 6.3 percent of U.S. employment per report in July 2017. The future is STEM, and teaching your participants and staff this skill is important. Science and Math are cool again! I will post this activity in the Resource Zone. Feel free to steal and share ideas.