Spending time on the pedagogy/advocacy side of STEM can yield side effects that frame the world in terms of measurable outcomes. It starts with a daycare notification about the science activity for the day involving dropping food coloring in containers of milk, and the niggling voice asking whether that is science or art. I mean, it’s not like the teachers are explaining the phenomenon, right? Without context, shouldn’t building with blocks be labelled as motor skills and not engineering? Suddenly those voices are building more silos instead of breaking out of them. I am thankful for the voices of my informal-education peers bringing me back to reason. And I am thankful for reality reminding me that toddlers are toddlers, and they will learn as much about the world as we will let them.
Watching young children interact with the world can provide an important reminder of science as a process and frame of mind rather than scope of content. Trying the same puzzle piece in every orientation in every slot is part of a systematic approach to problem solving. Modelers trying to represent a new phenomenon have to start out the same way, and geneticists might be reminded of their own shotgun approaches.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.