This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and the Level Up Kids sponsored program. Canadian Blog House received compensation as a thank you for our participation. This post reflects our personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.
A curriculum based on real-life situations to help students learn, STEM education focuses on four key areas of study: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
If you haven’t heard of STEM education before now, you are going to hear more and more about it in the coming years.
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Back when I was in school, subjects were taught separately. Math was math. Science was science. The two subjects were never mixed. Technology wasn’t a part of the classroom for me until I reached post-secondary education. Engineering was never a part of any educational equation for me.
Thanks to technology, the world around us is changing – rapidly. Some of the “old-school” ways of education are no longer helpful for today’s kids. For example, gone are the days where knowing how to write “cursive” was an important life skill.
STEM Education Provides Our Kids With A Solid Foundation For Their Future
STEM education puts the focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and teaches kids important skills that will be necessary for any job in their future, such as problem solving, communication, and critical thinking skills.
STEM focuses on connecting these subjects together and, using real life activities, helps show children that what they are learning is pertinent to their future, both at home, and in the workplace.
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To understand the true importance of STEM education for Canadian kids, take a look at the 10-year employment growth outlook from HRSDC which says “Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), in its latest 10-year employment growth outlook, forecasts that some of the biggest growth will occur in STEM-related fields. HRSDC says that almost 75 per cent of new jobs between 2009 and 2018 will be in high-skill occupations.”
Level Up Kids Camps ~ Encouraging Kids Ages 7-14 In STEM Education
We got to see first hand a glimpse into the world of STEM education when we attended a recent Level Up Kids camp event here in Ottawa.
Level Up Kids camp is a coding camp that offers week-long summer camps for kids aged 7-14. Programs offered include subjects such as Minecraft modding, mobile game design, and programming.
Level Up Kids Camps “emphasize creativity, exploration and friendship. Students will discover new tech skills in an energetic, kid friendly learning environment. Week-long day summer camps include personalized instruction, and a variety of fun camp activities.” The camps take “frequent breaks and incorporate a balance of high-energy outdoor games.”
X-Man is an active kid who loves to play outside but, he has never been one who is interested in organized sports. So when we were looking into summer camp options for him this year, a summer sports camp was not a viable option for X-Man.
X-Man is at the age where video games have become a pretty big part of his spare time. The challenge for us, and many other parents whose kids love video games, is making sure they don’t sit in front of the tv screen 24/7, playing these games.
Recently, we were contacted by Level Up Kids asking us to come and attend an informational event about Level Up Kids camps.
We were intrigued.
Here was a summer camp that would not only align with X-Man’s love of video games but, challenge him to learn coding, build his own video game…and even his own robot!
Give a kid a computer and you feed his desire to play video games now. Teach a kid STEM, and you provide her with a lifetime of skills to help her become the creator of those video games.
Educating myself a little more about STEM education, and what programs were offered at Level Up Kids camps, I was quickly convinced that THIS was the PERFECT type of summer camp for X-Man.
At Level Up Kids camps, kids learn to:
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Students learn to understand the problem, find a way to attack it, and work until it is done and they can pass to the next level.
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively. Students learn that it helps to break down complex problems into simpler ones. Designing algorithms requires using logic and abstract thinking.
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Students will work together, exchange ideas, and discuss various strategies to solve the problems.
- Model with Mathematics While working through different programs, students will use X and Y coordinates, spatial directions, find shortest paths, measure distances, calculate areas, work with random numbers and more.
- Use appropriate tools strategically. Most programming tasks can be solved in several different ways. Students learn that selecting the appropriate tool can save them time and effort.
- Attend to precision. For a computer program to work, the logic of the underlying algorithm must be precise, and moreover the program needs to be written and formatted very carefully.
- Look for and make use of structure. Looking for patterns and making use of structure is a fundamental component of computer programming. Students learn that finding a pattern simplifies the logic, and makes the solution of the problem easier.
- Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. Computer programming teaches students to generalize their thinking. They learn to use solutions to previously solved problems to attack more complicated ones.
X-Man, however, needed convincing. He was certain that he was going to be “bored” during the Level Up Kids event. Our drive to the event consisted of a whole lot of “sighs” and “complaints”, mixed with “eyeball rolling”.
Our drive home? Completely different.
After just a taste of what it’s like to attend a Level Up Kids camp, X-Man left the event energized, excited, and looking SO forward to his week at Level Up Kids camp this summer.
He was more enthusiastic about Level Up Kids camp than we ever imagined he would be!
It was fascinating to watch all the children at the event. Every child quickly became interested in what the instructor was showing them. They performed all the tasks asked of them, and had fun from start to finish.
So much fun, in fact, that I don’t believe any of them realized that they were actually learning some skills that evening.
Screen time can be addicting, especially for young boys who are “glued” to their computers, playing their video games, like X-Man. But, computers can also be a very good thing. As parents we just need to find a way to help kids focus on the beneficial side of tech.
As an important component of STEM, tech learning can help our kids hone their problem-solving and creative skills – skills that they will need throughout their life.
Think your child would enjoy a week at a Level Up Kids camp this summer?
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The wonderful folks at Level Up Kids are giving away ONE FULL WEEK of Level Up Kids camp to one lucky Canadian Blog House reader!!
That’s right, your child could be attending a Level Up Kids camp of your choice, including camps such as: Adventures in Programming, Robotics, YouTube Camp, Mobile Game Maker, and more! *Subject to camp and registration availability in your city. Free week of camp is valid only for the 2017 summer season, and the certificate expires September 1, 2017. This very generous prize is valued at $399.00!
Here’s how you can enter for your chance to WIN: