Connect with Science through STEM classes and competitionsPosted by Sarah W on September 17, 2012
The world of science is exciting, but sometimes it can be a challenge actually getting kids excited about it. You might have noticed a push towards STEM activities, in and outside of school. That’s because we know the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math in our children’s futures. The information-age is moving full speed ahead, ready to pass things along to the next generation, and here in San Antonio there are some great ways to get your kids involved in STEM-centered activities.
Take a class
There are weekly workshops like Pint Sized Science at the San Antonio Children’s Museum that introduce basic science concepts to young children, encouraging them to learn and explore. The programs change themes monthly, so your child can build a broad understanding of science before they even start school. Plus, these workshops are free with museum admission, so it’s a fun way to spice up a trip to the SACM.
Another resource for finding free science experiences is San Antonio Parks & Rec events. These programs vary month to month and week to week, so check the calendar to see what is coming up in your area. You can find events like ‘Fossils 101’, where you learn first-hand from archeologists and paleontologists, or other explorative adventures like ‘Flying Wild’ that encourage kids to learn about birds in their surrounding areas. There’s a lot of ground to cover in the world of science, but the City of San Antonio is helping to make it that much easier.
The Science Research and Education Institute of Texas wants to help your child get excited about science. Kids can engage in hands-on learning through science classes offered outside of school during the academic year. Classes are held at the Bexar County Agricultural Extension and range in topic from the Sensational Solar System to Black holes, Relativity, and Everything. Each class has a different age recommendation, but there’s something for everyone from age 6 to 17. Check out the offerings and register online, classes run from $15 to $25.
These are more for the older kids, high school or college aged. If your student loves a good challenge and is on board for innovation, then get ready for the world’s biggest tech competition. It’s Imagine Cup, Microsoft’s annual competition that challenges students to use their tech skills to solve the world’s biggest problems. Student teams have created everything from a smartphone app that diagnoses malaria to an app that reduces food waste by connecting leftover meals from restaurants with homeless shelters. That’s innovative thinking that can improve the world. It’s a global competition and it is fierce. This year, the stakes are even higher, they’ve increased the prize money and added new categories. If your student is up to the challenge, simply register online to get connected with a team.
Here’s a contest that is geared toward sparking interest in careers in science, engineering, and technology. The S.E.T Awards Video Contest through the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) is hosting a video contest for people ages 13 and older, allowing both amateur and professionals to compete by pitching a television series about using science, engineering and/or technology in daily life. Create a 3-5 minute video explanation of the show or a sample of the pilot episode, and you could win a trip to the S.E.T Awards in Beverly Hills, CA in November. Check out the details online and see if your STEM-minded student is up to the challenge.
If your child is a little too young to compete, it can also be fun just to follow along with what these competitions are doing. See what innovative ideas are being created and it may inspire your child to get active in STEM. One day soon, they may be competing in these contests themselves.