As parents, you may have heard teachers and other educators talking about STEM. What exactly is STEM and why is it important?
STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. It's important because according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, "STEM occupations are growing at 17 percent, while other occupations are growing at 9.8 percent. STEM degree holders have a higher income even in non-STEM careers. ... STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy and enables the next generation of innovators."
Research has told us that the early years have a lasting impact on a child's future. Here are several books you can share with your child to promote STEM concepts.
"The Tiny Seed" by Eric Carle
This is a beautifully illustrated story that simplifies the life cycle of the plant for young readers. It also sends the message that no matter how small you are, you can thrive and become something beautiful if you work hard and keep trying.
"Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding" by Linda Liukas
This book is geared for children ages 4-8. Young children will be introduced to coding concepts like how to break down big problems into small ones, how to create step-by-step plans, how to look for patterns and think outside the box. These concepts are reinforced through fun exercises and activities that encourage exploration and creativity.
"The Most Magnificent Thing" by Ashley Spires
Despite repeated efforts, a girl's idea to make the "most magnificent thing" doesn't work out the way she originally planned.
She "tinkers and hammers and measures, she smoothes and wrenches and fiddles, she twists and tweaks and fastens." She becomes angry and frustrated and wants to quit. Luckily, her beloved assistant (her dog) suggests a walk, and she calms down. The girl returns with renewed enthusiasm and manages to complete a project she is happy with. This book may spark a child's interest in engineering while teaching valuable lessons about perseverance and creativity.
"Zero the Hero" by Joan Holub and Tom Lichtenheld
Playful puns are woven throughout this comical book about the importance of the number zero. Our hero, Zero, starts to feel useless when he hears his number friends bragging about their value. They think he is just a big nothing. But Zero is so much more than a place holder, and this book tells why.