American public schools face a serious 21st century conundrum: how to make more time for STEM in K-8 settings. I am all for gym everyday and for a strong emphasis on reading. But the number of minutes in the day spent on STEM are simply not enough to change these sobering numbers (from The Atlantic, Special Report on Schools, October 2012:
More creative blending of reading nonfiction science topics during “reading” time is a start. So is blocking time for longer daily lessons (only problem is that it is an either or – either science or social studies).
One sad moment for me was sorting the kids school materials the week after school ended this summer and finding the science journals. Our (then) third grader’s journal had four pages of a full spiral notebook used. Science is still an afterthought in K-5; is not blended into other topics such as math and reading; and depending on the curriculum (our school uses FOSS), does not have enough depth.
So we use other enrichment resources. We are lucky to have Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development in our community for enrichment classes, such as chemistry, SCRATCH, Lego robotics, etc.
If you are looking for experiments to do at home here are some resources:
Steve Spangler’s SICK SCIENCE videos (you can also sign up to get a weekly experiment emailed to you)