Parents don’t need a science degree to shape their child’s learning or to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). There’s a little science and engineering behind everything we see each day. From day trips to talks around the dinner table, there are lots of easy and fun ways to spark a love of STEM. Your next conversation or outing could inspire the future engineer inside your child!
The Chevron STEM Zone — where students, teachers, and parents learn about how STEM solves real-life challenges — is a great place to continue the conversation. Techbridge, which has inspired girls to discover a passion for STEM through hands-on learning since 2000, will be there to offer fun, hands-on activities and provide information about inspiring kids to STEM. The Chevron STEM Zone returns to the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, DC on April 16-17th.
Start by signing up for Techbridge’s free family guide, “Science is a Family Affair.” The guide has practical tips to incorporate STEM seamlessly into daily discussions and learning. Techbridge will also send you information about science gifts and STEM activities in your area. After you sign up, it’s time to inspire your budding engineer!
Chapped lips? Make your own lip balm! Techbridge volunteers will show you how by using beeswax, Shea butter, and coconut oil as a base, and by adding your own flavor with essential oils — just like chemical engineers do to create make-up and many products we use every day.
Next, turn on the lights! Participants at the Techbridge exhibit will learn to design and build a one-of-a-kind light-up wearable pin. They’ll use an LED light and coin cell battery to create a simple circuit and attach it to a foam shape. This is a fun hands-on example of how to use electrical components to create a circuit, just like an electrical engineer.
The long-term goal for both Techbridge and Chevron is to increase interest in STEM careers. In addition to sponsoring Techbridge at the festival, since 2009 Chevron has provided funding to expand Techbridge programs and its capabilities. Chevron also organizes field trips to its headquarters in San Ramon, California, where girls meet role models and learn about potential careers in STEM. By building girls’ confidence in STEM skills, Techbridge helps many find rewarding careers—and return to mentor the next generation.
But parents are the ultimate role models. Techbridge says research shows that, as a parent, you can teach your child that the brain is like a muscle that gets stronger and works better the more it is exercised. In the face of challenges, children with this mindset are more likely to be persistent and successful. It certainly helps if parents approach daily life with curiosity in STEM, which will help spark an interest in your children.
Techbridge’s work reminds us that by exciting and encouraging girls to pursue learning in STEM, you may inspire a girl to change the world. And that career might just start by learning how to make an electrical circuit or a product that soothes chapped lips.