Growing up as a homeschooled student, my parents were very actively involved in hands-on educational activities. Being able to work on a tangible project really brings a subject to life, especially for STEM topics. Now that I’m an adult, I can relate to the experience of other homeschooled kids like Zoe and Miles, and it’s fun for me when they come to visit with Louise. Last time I saw Zoe, I handed her a science experiment kit, and I was proud of her for coming up with her own experiments based off the kit’s instructions. From glitter test tubes to green volcanoes, there’s no limit to what a little girl can come up with if you encourage her to experiment!
Whether your kids are homeschooled or in public school, you can take an active role with their education by being supportive. My parents always encouraged me to be creative in solving problems, and they took my ideas seriously. This taught me valuable skills that have been priceless in my career and day-to-day life. And this attitude was the foundation behind the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, which aims to inspire the next generation of innovators by nurturing the inherent curiosity and creativity that children possess.
Now through April 20th, middle school students can brainstorm a solution to an everyday problem and submit a 1 to 2 minute video describing the science behind it on the Young Scientist Challenge website. Judges will select 10 finalists based on creativity, scientific knowledge, persuasiveness and presentation. The finalists will then be mentored by 3M scientists to help develop their innovations and receive a trip to the 3M Innovation Center in October to compete in the final event. The grand prize winner of this event will be crowned “America’s Top Young Scientist” and receive a $25,000 prize!
The next generation of scientists will have an immeasurable impact on the world, and it’s so important that their interest be encouraged – especially for children in demographics that tend to get left behind in these fields. Even if a student goes on to pursue a career path outside of the science/technology realm, having a solid STEM background will still provide invaluable advantages. I may work in arts and entertainment, but I would not have the career that I do without the ability to use computers, code websites, adapt to new technology, and so on. And for that reason, I think it’s crucial to empower children in these topics – and a competition like the Young Scientist Challenge is the perfect way to ignite that spark!
How do you encourage your kids to be interested in science?
This is a sponsored post on behalf of 3M. All opinions stated are my own.