This post was sponsored by the National 4-H Council as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Do you know a child who doesn’t love technology? But getting kids to go beyond consuming technology to actually creating and utilizing tech can be difficult. That’s why we are thrilled to be participating in the 4-H National Youth Science Day Code Your World Challenge developed by Google and West Virginia University Extension Service that invites kids to get involved in computer science through fun, hands-on activities. Encourage S.T.E.M. learning every day with the Code Your World Challenge and these fun ideas.
Whether it’s computer games, watching Netflix, or playing their favorite app, my four daughters have a love for tech. Which is not surprising since my husband has worked in the tech field their entire life and, obviously, I do a lot of photography and computer work.
But getting my girls to use their computers and brains for something other than consuming video games can be a struggle. So, I am loving the four tasks of the Code Your World challenge. It provides 4 ways to explore S.T.E.M. both on and off the computer. Kids explore S.T.E.M. through dance, digital animation, and gaming.
4-H National Youth Science Day (4-H NYSD) on October 1st is an annual push to get kids interested in STEM topics through hands-on doing. There are events taking place throughout the month of October in classrooms, clubs, homes, and after school spaces across the country.
Why We Love the Code Your World Challenge
My daughter, Jaida, learned through the “Color Your World” challenge that coding doesn’t have to be done on the computer. Even something as simple as how we color code our maps uses “computational thinking (the skills and approaches that allow people to solve complex problems)”
Often, kids think that programming and coding is only useful if you are creating a video game.
However, the processes and thinking skills that S.T.E.M. activities develop are necessary for every field and really every task in life. From tweaking the measurements in a recipe in baking to understanding a basic ‘if…then…” statement, the processes that S.T.E.M. teaches are used every day. Even every hour.
Computer science not only helps kids understand the world, it will help them find success in their future career.
My 13-year-old, Rissa, loved the beginner-friendly CS (Computer Science) First activity called “Animate a Name” created by Google and 4-H. She learned the fundamentals of coding while creating an interactive version of her name.
Encourage S.T.E.M. Learning Every Day
There is a tremendous need for kids to know how to create technology, not just consume it. Computer science is a huge part of our world—from our food, to the computers and tablets we love, to medicine we depend on and the music we listen to.
So, we, as parents and educators need to encourage S.T.E.M. learning every day.
The Code Your World Challenge is a great way to get started with S.T.E.M. learning, but these skills need to be a part of how kids learn every day.
3 Ways to Use S.T.E.M. Every Day
- Play games. I’m totally serious on this! The first game that comes to mind is Clue! Kids have to deduce who the killer is and it encourages some awesome planning and thinking skills that the kids won’t even notice. Other games that are great for S.T.E.M. learning are: Equilibrium, Dog Pile, and Cat Crimes.
- LEGO, LEGO, LEGO. I can’t emphasize this enough. From following the instructions on a project to creating their own designs to our latest, building robots, LEGO is perfect for building S.T.E.M. skills of engineering, problems solving, math. Is there anything LEGO can’t do? I think not. *wink*
- Ask questions. Why are my chocolate chip cookies harder than the rocks in my backyard? What will happen if….? Why did ________ do that? Any question that gets kids thinking about how or why is a great question. With their brains set to function without thinking of consequences, these questions are super important for pre-teens and teens.
I’m a firm believer that every child is born a S.T.E.M. ‘genius’, but along the way they stop asking the questions that help them understand the world at a much deeper level.
This October, get your kids involved in the National Youth Science Day and foster a love for S.T.E.M. every day.