At Step Up Academy’s summer STEM program for kids, children learn to be critical thinkers and engage in problem solving and logical thinking tasks to promote their critical thinking. Critical thinking is an important skill for kids to learn in order to prepare them for their future. Additionally, children need the opportunity to use their critical thinking to build their agency and independence and this is promoted through our STEM program. Critical thinking leads to making good decisions, being critical of information presented to an individual and solving problems. In the Step Up STEM program, kids are presented with challenges that force them to think critically, plan out what they are going to do and use their self-regulation in a group setting to solve the challenge presented to them. For example, in groups kids work together to solve design challenges where they must build a solution to an everyday problem using materials provided. The students collaborate, plan and think critically to create a solution and ensure their design would be applicable for the situation. With these design challenges, there is no one way to complete them, or prototype to build, which is what allows us to stretch each child’s thinking. Children need the opportunity to think critically and develop a plausible solution that will withstand testing and could be applied in the real-world. Overall, the kids enjoy thinking in different ways and coming up with various solutions, especially when there is no one perfect answer.
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