Emma from Science Sparks in the UK has released a free e-book filled with 12 fun Christmas science activities for kids, all with items and materials that most people would already have in the house! Something to fill the start of the school holidays with some messy experimental fun 🙂
It was a handheld drill-and-practice aid for basic maths that suggested problems and rewarded you with a message on its display when you gave the correct answer. The LED display made it possible to play in the dark once I had memorised the button positions.
Just finding an image of it makes me smile and remember the HOURS I spent having fun and testing myself – both secretly at bed time and during daylight hours.
Last week when I took my young daughter to our local library, after looking at a few non-fiction books, she asked to play on one of their iPads and I said she could play one game.
The game she chose to play is one that she had played there before on a visit with her dad. I hadn’t seen it before. It was a game where you’re helping a bird to fly up a tree to get to a key and let another bird out. But not really. That’s just the visual interface. Really, it was just like the Little Professor in App form!
The game involves solving simple addition problems, then slightly harder ones, then simple subtraction problems and so on, with visual rewards provided through the bird collecting things as it flies up the tree on a mission to get a key and free another bird.
There are hundreds of maths apps and games available, so I’m not reviewing this App in particular, just commenting on the embedded nature of the maths problems in the game dynamics, and the ease with which my emerging mathematician engaged with the problems.
At five years old my daughter’s maths skills seem fairly limited, but using her fingers, and then her fingers and toes she was able to get a fair way into the game. The satisfaction she got from solving the problems was immense, with big smiles and jumping up and down with excitement.
I am so proud that my young daughter chose to play a maths game, and loved it! I am so proud that she could do it, and that she persevered when the problems got harder. She stopped playing not long after the first bird had unlocked the next bird, but she loved the challenges it gave her. Here’s hoping that she stays as engaged with maths concepts when she starts school next year!
Purdue University has created an interesting list of suggestions for toys, books and activities that can help children to develop engineering interest and skills. I have not reviewed what’s included in the guide, but it looks like an interesting resource for those of you who have a child like mine, who is naturally designing and building things all the time.
“Wondering just what to pick up this holiday season for the budding engineer? Let Purdue University help with this year’s engineering gift guide for kids.” Source: The STEAM Hub: 2015 Engineering Gift Guide
Welcome to Science Play. Here you will find posts about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), with a focus on how children engage with and learn about STEM. Children are natural learners, and their play is infused with scientific experiments, theory and practice, building, creation and exploration. Many governments around the world, and particularly in Australia, have recognised that increasing children’s participation in STEM will have a positive flow on impact on economic outcomes. STEM is also simply fun and interesting to explore!