The importance of starting STEM education early

The importance of starting STEM education early

This post is sponsored by Vex Robotics

As we watch exciting updates from the world of science — such as stunning images of the iconic Pillars of Creation by the James Webb Telescope or the slow, methodical crawl of the Mars rover — these discoveries and developments seem poised to be shared with students. Today’s educational experts have evidence that even the youngest learners need not be passive admirers of science but practical participants. Research shows that preschoolers who participate in robotics challenges not only sharpen their computational thinking and problem-solving skills, they develop a positive perception of math and science that encourages them to pursue STEM subjects later in life.

A positive attitude and increased interest in these critical areas of study through creative and exciting practical learning opportunities is essential. If a student loses their love for learning, it will be an uphill battle to develop their interest in STEM when they are older. If STEM subjects are top of mind in fourth grade, The child is likely to study those areas with confidence.

In fact, a 2017 study funded by the nonprofit Joan Ganz Cooney Center, “STEM Starts Early: Grounding STEM in Early Childhood,” found that brain- and skill-building experiences early in life are essential for children’s development. Integral to achieving this holistic development are high-quality STEM experiences, which can support a young child’s development across areas as diverse as executive function and even literacy.

Why robotics is an integral part of STEM learning

This is why more schools and educators are looking for VEX GO robots and STEM Lab curriculum. In a recent study,Improving Student Attitudes to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: Researching the VEX GO Curriculum,The researchers found that the robotics curriculum improved student attitudes in nearly all STEM subjects for grades three through five. In addition, teachers noted student growth in areas such as creativity, participation, teamwork, and perseverance.

Developing problem-solving skills is another bonus to this type of interactive learning. Building mechanics with VEX GO kits is not the only advantage of GO’s incorporation into core themes. Robotics can be considered as an exciting alternative educational method for achieving a variety of educational goals. This can apply to many subjects. For example, if a part of a robot breaks and the objectives of the lesson plan say that the class group can repair it with only a certain set of available materials, learners not only use their engineering skills to design an alternative option, but develop organizational and vital skills. Public speaking skills to build consensus, persuade classmates, and make cases for their designs.

This kind of enabling success is key to fostering the excitement needed to push students towards STEM subjects, rather than away as they get older. Early intervention to disrupt apathy towards science and math subjects can open pathways toward future careers, an urgent need for our society that starts from these positive early experiences. When you have fun and well-designed lessons to share, such as those that exist organically through robotics, teaching a love of learning through exposure to hands-on, interactive STEM activities requires nothing more than engagement and encouragement for young minds to excel.

VEX robots is the world leader in STEM education, offering the ongoing VEX Series to help students of all abilities quickly find success as well as grow their STEM knowledge and competencies. Learn more about how we empower educators to engage and inspire STEM innovators and problem-solvers of today and tomorrow.

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