It’s summer time! That means it’s county fair time. Do you know how much science, technology, engineering and math happens at a county or state fair?
Confession time, I was not a fair kid growing up. I thought that if I went to the county fair I would just see my friend’s farm animals and the cookies they had been practice baking for months. No really, that’s what I thought! I have come to learn however that it is about amazing fabulous STEM opportunities and experiences. Even as a visitor, your opportunities to experience STEM are endless.
When I searched ‘what to do at the fair’ I found an endless list of activities for families. From milking cows, to using robots, to participating in food demonstrations (read EAT), from creating your own artwork, to learning about wildlife and insects. And these were just the 3 links I found from 3 different states! Not to mention all the counties in those various states that were sharing their fair activities.
Take a moment and think about how you might be able to encourage STEM activities in a fun and family friendly environment with your children. Most fairs are low cost or have discount days/times. They cater to families with children and want to create an engaging family focused time for you. Get creative while you’re at the fair. Create family challenges or mini-competitions at the exhibits and demonstrations. Enjoy the demonstrations and talk about how you might do something similar in your own home. Take the fair boards up on their offer, find a fair close to you and show your kids that you know a little about STEM too.
We would love to hear about your favorite fair experiences.
Not all parents feel confident having “the talk” with their children — when the topic is science, technology, engineering and math. However, it’s an ongoing conversation parents and kids need to have.
STEM — Science, technology, engineering, and math — is a vital part of our kids’ education and their future and parents play an absolutely critical role in encouraging and supporting their children’s STEM learning at home, in school and in the community. This month we will discuss how to create a science-learning friendly home. We’ll also talk about how parents can be more actively engaged with their children’s teacher and school.
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Of all the possible clubs and organizations parents and kids can choose to belong to, a 4-H club should be number one on the list. What do you know about 4-H? Some think it’s all about farms. And animals. Period.
We know it’s so much more. All the activities are and always have been STEM focused, meaning the members are engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematic principles. Members of 4-H who belong to a 4-H club are immersed in STEM activities.
But, what if your child isn’t in 4-H? How about trying a summer camp? Most camps are open to all youth in the area. Those who attend will have much to write on “What did you do this summer?”
Examples of some camps ISU Extension and Outreach offer:
- Robotics Camp I, II and III
- Free Style STEM
- NASA STEM
- 1st Steps Vet Science
- Explorations in Vet Science
- Next Steps Vet Science
- CSI: Learn to Investigate
- CSI: Unsolved Mystery
- Jelly Genes and DNA: Biotechnology
- Food Science
- Green Thumbs, Dirty Fingers
Or, how about: photography camps, NASA Mars rover camp, nature STEM camps, sewing camps, explore medicine camps, and more. Many of the camps could not happen without community partnerships such as area hospitals, school science teachers, NASA astronauts (yes, really), and many more.
Want your child to Join 4-H? Contact a county office near you.
From guest blogger, Cindy Gannon, Northwest Iowa Marketing Coordinator