The Most Important STEM Skills You Can Start Teaching Right Now

STEM skills don’t have to stay in the lab. STEM students learn valuable skills that they can use in their everyday lives.

STEM is the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The reason that these disciplines are grouped together is that they share certain qualities.

This means that through STEM education, students acquire certain skills that help them navigate and excel at these subjects.

That being said, your child does not have to aspire to become a doctor to use these skills. Whether your child chooses to continue their STEM education when they get older or choose a different career path, there are several skills that children can learn from STEM, both in class and at home.

You should make sure that they have the basic knowledge that forms the foundation of STEM, as it will benefit them throughout their life.

Here are some of the most important STEM skills that you should be teaching your kids that they will be able to carry with them in the future.

Problem-solving Skills

Problem-solving is arguably the foundation of STEM, but in truth, it’s also the foundation of life. We encounter problems every day that require us to find solutions, often quickly and under pressure.

Studying STEM can help develop these skills and enhance problem-solving abilities. There are several instances in STEM education where students are required to solve problems, such as:

  • Solving math problems
  • Determining the ingredients in a substance
  • Figuring out the reason why two chemicals react the way that they do

A great way to work on problem-solving skills is to work on puzzles. KiwiCo (my review) offers several STEM puzzles, such as this Pegboard Games and Puzzles Set.

This set has 11 different games for your child to choose from, including tic-tac-toe and tapatan. The game boards and pegs are removable, and the board as a whole is travel-friendly so that your kid can bring it anywhere they want to learn on the go.

kiwico pegboard games

Critical Thinking Skills

It’s not enough to think quickly. There are many scenarios in life where the quality of your decisions matter as much as how quickly you act on them, if not more. The reason that we have most of the technological advancements today is because of critical thinkers who value quality ideas.

The STEM workforce is full of innovators, and critical thinking is an integral part of that. In the same way, critical thinking can be said to be crucial to everyday life. We need to be able to think deeply about our decisions.

The right STEM lessons will enhance a student’s critical thinking ability. Critical thinking and problem-solving go hand-in-hand, so it is beneficial for students to get involved in activities that challenge them to use both of these skills together.

Critical thinking is vital in many other non-STEM disciplines as well–it is commonly thought of as the foundation of liberal arts and humanities. So if your child refines their critical thinking skills early through their STEM education, they’ll be prepared to take on any discipline they choose.

Check out our article, 10 Ways to Supercharge Your Child’s Science Skills!

Ways to Supercharge Your Child’s Science Skills

Creativity

Many think of STEM as the polar opposite of liberal arts, which is believed to be the most creative discipline. However, to excel in STEM, every student needs to have a level of creativity. STEM disciplines all involve creativity to some degree. Yes, even math.

Consider how we’ve come up with the technology we have today. Everything starts with a new idea, and new ideas come from people who think outside of the box.

Innovation requires creativity, which is why it is a valued STEM skill. Get your child’s creative mind going by giving them toys and activities that provide a creative outlet.

For example, building activities usually inspire creativity in children, as they love seeing what new structures they can build. Give your child access to lego bricks, or try this Fort Builder Kit from Kiwico to give your child a chance at expanding their creativity.

kiwico fort builder kit

Analytical Skills

One of the most essential skills in any STEM discipline is analytical skills. Many STEM careers involve going through loads of data regularly. Anyone can look at data all day, but it’s time wasted if they don’t know what to do with it. That’s where analysis comes in.

An analysis isn’t only useful in the lab. Data is all around us. As humans, we are constantly analyzing our surroundings to make sense of it. STEM education enhances analytical reasoning ability to help us make good decisions.

Analytical skills and critical thinking abilities often work together to help us solve the complex problems in our lives, so there’s value in working on all of these skills through STEM activities.

Communication Skills

TV and film love to paint the picture of the introverted scientist who isn’t good at interacting with others. In reality, communication is one of the key skills that is required to be successful in any STEM discipline.

In STEM classes, students are often required to collaborate on different projects, and the only way to do that is through proper communication.

Through STEM activities, students learn how to communicate clearly. During an experiment, science students need to learn how to say what they mean in a concise way, or else a miscommunication may result in errors that put the entire experiment in jeopardy.

This isn’t too much unlike everyday life: one miscommunication, and you can find your whole day ruined.

Wrapping Up

In summary, the top STEM skills that you should be teaching are:

  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Analytical reasoning
  • Communication

STEM skills are 21st-century skills, but that doesn’t mean that they are new. The skills used to excel in STEM subjects have always been around and used for everyday life in many different scenarios.

This is why it’s important to have students develop their STEM skills early on to continue to apply them to their daily lives.

Are you interested in getting STEM supplies directly sent to your door every month? Please take a look at the best STEM subscriptions in our article, Awesome (& Educational) STEM Subscription Boxes for Kids.

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