Tips for parents to help students gain the edge in STEM education

(BPT) – As students prepare to head back to school each year, parents face the same question: How can they help their kids advance in school, develop into creative, collaborative thinkers, and make for an overall less stressful experience?

What’s more, as students progress in school, the subjects that present the most challenges – science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) – are the key areas where students need to excel in order to prepare them for success throughout their school years and eventually their professional lives. In fact, a new survey commissioned by Post-it Brand surveying 1,000 American parents with children ages 13 to 18, conducted in July 2015, revealed that parents believe math and science are the subjects that will prepare students the most for the job market, yet parents admit they are not as prepared as they could be to provide crucial after-school help.

“Parents need to expose students at an early age, incite interest in STEM subjects and empower students to develop the skill set needed to get ahead,” says Dr. Michele Borba, an internationally recognized parenting and education expert.

Nearly 70 percent of surveyed parents admit they frequently struggle to help their kids with STEM-related homework. Borba suggests a few tips for parents to help foster STEM learning, break down complex problems, and teach effective homework and study skills.

Discover the student’s learning style

Identify how each student learns best – by seeing, hearing or doing – to determine how to tailor and adapt lessons and study techniques accordingly.

The visual learner needs to see the information to absorb and retain it. In fact, according to the survey 86 percent of parents think the best way for their students to learn STEM-subjects is through visual learning. Students can visually map out information on colorful Post-it Super Sticky Notes from the World of Color Rio de Janeiro collection and move them around their notebook, binder or desk space as they study. Try mapping out an anatomy lesson layer by layer on different colored notes or create a visual brainstorm.

The auditory learner needs to hear the information to remember it. For this type of student, try creating flashcards with key facts, questions and answers and read the text out loud alone or with a like-minded classmate.

Lastly, the kinesthetic learner is a “do-er” and needs to participate in an activity to learn. For this student, try writing the notes out long form or experimenting with different objects or substances around the house.

Create a STEM-friendly environment and hone in on positive study techniques

Students are constantly learning, and by creating a STEM-friendly environment in your home, you can reinforce what they’ll be learning in school. Encourage teens to choose TV programming that relates to STEM topics like documentaries or biographies, draw relevance to the real world with noteworthy news articles, and use technology in a positive way such as conducting research or following organizations such as NASA.

When it’s time for projects and homework, having a dedicated spot to work can help students stay focused. Establish a location and stock it with all the supplies needed for completing school work, keeping track of assignments, brainstorming and getting creative for projects.

Don’t forget options that can help them study more effectively, such as Post-it Flags from the World of Color Rio de Janeiro collections to help mark their spot in textbooks and keep track of what matters, so they can easily move things forward with STEM learning.

Make tasks more manageable

As students advance through school, they begin to spend more time on homework and have multiple assignments to tackle each night. Break tasks down into manageable portions and stay organized to help them avoid feeling overwhelmed. Help instill efficient study techniques and skills to breakdown complex problems step by step.

Show students how to plan ahead when they get a long-term project assigned. Teach them how to break the project down into stages and decide when they need to finish each one in order to make their deadlines.

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