Let’s talk STEM (3): Exciting DIY experiments to encourage innovative thinking

The PlayShifu Blog

Let’s talk STEM (3): Exciting DIY experiments to encourage innovative thinking

PlayShifu
19 Jan 19
7 min read
PlayShifu
19 Jan 19
7 min read

We believe that you’re here to meet Engineering after understanding its sibling – Technology.

As similar as they may seem in the STEM family tree, engineering is to be seen differently from technology.

Wondering how they’re different?

kid-wearing-a-yellow-helmet-and-smiling

The E(ngineering) in STEM

Remember those fun reindeer paw stickers that you used to surprise your kids on Christmas?

Did you ever wonder whether it could be a work of engineering?

Well, it is!

These super fun stickers are made using glue and ink. The elements that go into making these two things, would have been unknown to us had it not been for science.

Then, technology allowed us to design and turn them into a stick of glue and colorful inks.

Enter engineering – which married adhesives and print technology into the exciting world of stickers!

Fun, isn’t it?

reindeer-paws-on-white-floor

Here are 4 ways you can introduce your child to the world of engineering in the comfort of your home:

1. Planespotting: Activity with Airplanes

Raise your hand if you still look up at the sky at the sound of an airplane! 

That’s a lot of hands, so, let’s add a dash of fun by making it into an activity!

  • Collect pictures of the evolution of airplanes – the first airplane ever built to the gigantic structure it is today. Encourage your kid to make a scrapbook out of the pictures you collected (start from the picture of the first airplane).
  • Talk about how airplanes are designed like birds; what engines are and how they help airplanes zoom like a Cheetah; why airplanes leave behind white puffy trails in the sky, etc.

boy-pointing-at-aeroplane-in-the-sky

Tip: Mix in some “Did you know” statements like ‘Airplanes are lightning proof’. Antonov AN-225 Mriya is the biggest aircraft in the world – as wide and as long as a football field!

2. DIY Drip Irrigation Activity for Kids

As parents, we strive to shield our kids from real-world problems, by building a bubble of ignorance around them, simply because, “the kids are not old enough.”

Guess what? Those days are ancient!

Nothing comes close to “real” as the environmental problems the world is facing today.

Take your kids to the garden and get them excited with a drip irrigation activity.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Take a plastic bottle and make a hole in the cap.
  • Next, cut the bottom of the bottle.
  • Dig a hole next to your plant and bury the bottle (upside down) so that half of it is the above ground. Finally, pour water into it and….you’re all set!

DIY-drip-irrigation-system

Image Source: gardenandhome

Tip: Seal the sharp rim of the bottle with clay to avoid any cuts or bruises

How will kids benefit from this activity?

According to research, more than half the water used in watering plants is wasted due to over-watering. Explain to your kids how they just helped solve a major problem.

Projects with real-world outcomes hold some of the greatest potentials for helping kids become driven, empathetic and engaged citizens.

3. Scavenger Hunt with DIY Metal Detector

Children love going out and exploring. And the added excitement of returning home with a valuable treasure is the icing on the cake!

Metal detectors can be made easily using a ring magnet and a stick. Place the magnet at one end of the stick and glue/tape them together. Done!

DIY-wooden-metal-detector

Image Source: Makezine

Tip: Hide some old pennies or inexpensive jewelry in the backyard, for your kids to find. This keeps their excitement alive!

How will kids benefit from this activity?

Concepts of electric charges and conductivity become clear and their executive functioning skills will also improve.

Dr. Adele Diamond says, “These skills grow mental capacity in powerful ways and have been proven to be predictive of school readiness, school success, successful life outcomes, and future happiness”.

Now, don’t you wish you were a child again?

Keep that dream alive because our next blog – Let’s Talk STE(A)M: How including Arts in STEM curriculum helps in creative development, is going to make you love us even more!

Feel free to ask us any questions that you may have on STEM.

We’re all ears!

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