Guest Writer Michelle Dobbie lives and homeschools her two boys in South London. Here she shares some beautiful ways to teach STEM* subjects in our homes and schools.
As a family, we originally found ourselves home educating to meet our eldest son’s very specific educational needs. Sensory Processing Disorder, autism and ADHD meant that he struggled with the noise, visual stimulation and relative chaos of a traditional classroom. He also needed frequent opportunities for movement and ‘brain breaks.’ And his dyslexia meant that progress in core subjects such as reading and writing was slow. His teachers were not optimistic about his educational future.
Soon after we made the transition to homeschooling, I realized that my out-of-the-box kid needed a completely different approach to learning. And because he continues to struggle with literacy and numeracy, I decided that we had to play to his strengths.
So this summer we temporarily set aside reading lessons and copywork to dive deep into science and engineering. This is what my boy is wired for. For the first time he has been asking – begging – for more “school.” Through beautiful books and hands-on projects we have learned about inventors and their creations. It was a simple plan: buy LOTS of books and comb through Google for ideas. I’ve listed below the resources we used.
General STEM Books :
Week 1: Wheels, Turbines, Cogs
Stories about Toy Manufacturing from : Mistakes That Worked
Week 2: Water Technology
+ Water Displacement Experiment
+ Water Wheel Project (Homemade)
Week 3: Lifts + Subways
+ no project (the hydraulic lift took a while!)
Week 4: Steam Power
Week 5: Flight
+ Paper Airplane Catapault Project
Weeks 6-9: Electricity
What have I learned through our summer of STEM?
Playing to my children’s strengths is always a good move. It lights a fire for learning and exposes them to great ideas and achievements. These educational rabbit trails may feel like diversion from “serious” learning. But by enabling them to explore their interests, we are telling them they are valued at the most fundamental level. We are feeding their deepest sense of self by giving them freedom to discover their unique gifts. And by doing this, we are equipping them to find their voice in the world.
*STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths
2 thoughts on “A Summer of STEM* Projects”
Thanks Michelle and Liubov! This looks great. I recently bought Outside Maker Lab (Dorling Kindersley) and it is great for these kinds of projects. With my 7 year old boy we’ve made a compass, a clinometer to measure the degree of latitude, and an anemometer to measure wind speed.
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Thanks for this recommendation. I might just pop that book on the Christmas list. Sounds ideal!