News

2021 Spring STEM Education News Roundup

May / 2021

Welcome to our 2021 Spring Edition of our STEM Education News Roundup! The Blocks Rock team is always keeping watch for the latest STEM news.

Welcome to our 2021 Spring Edition of our STEM Education News Roundup! Because our game activates brain development and improves STEM learning skills, the Blocks Rock team is always keeping watch for the latest STEM news.

We’ve pulled together four recent articles that we hope will inspire you to think about the future of education and STEM learning. Read until the end to learn more about a bonus research article about Blocks Rock!

5 Ways Parents Can Help Children With The ‘New’ Math

Date: April 2, 2021 | By Thompson, Schiller, and Mielicki

This article discusses the differences between the ‘old’ math most parents were taught in school and the ‘new’ math in the Common Core that their children are being taught today. The Common Core standards have more of a focus on understanding why and how math works.

This difference in learning style has caused some parents to have “math anxiety” while helping their children with their homework. To make math more enjoyable and to overcome this anxiety, this article suggests pointing out the math in everyday life, playing board games and card games, breaking down math equations step by step, making connections with more familiar and well-liked math, and avoiding negative emotions around math.

Standout Quote: “As Bergatze’s stand-up bit points out, this new math has triggered some parents’ math anxiety’ – a common apprehension that can impair math performance, many studies show...As a researcher who studies why people hate math, I believe there are steps parents can take to combat any negative attitudes they may have toward math and to improve children’s math understanding.”

Click here to read this article.

Mental Health Problems Loom for the COVID Generation. Here’s What Schools Can Do.

Date: May 24, 2021 | By Education Week

This research discusses surveys suggesting that children and teens are in more need of mental health support from schools since the pandemic hit. Before the pandemic, suicide rates among children over 10 had climbed since 2007, and the situation has not improved, with low-income households struggling more since COVID-19. A survey of teenagers found that 21% said they felt they would benefit from mental health programs for the first time during the pandemic.

Standout Quote: “This really should be a core part of your curriculum ...teaching kids how to obtain and sustain positive mental health, understand mental illness, and how to seek help if they need it.”

Click here to read this article.

Greater Inclusion, Equity in STEM Education for Multilingual Students is Focus of New Research

Date: May 3rd, 2021 | By the University of Texas at Austin

The National Science Foundation awarded a $5 million grant to a team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin to study the effects of a successful start in STEM for multilingual students. This study will analyze a diverse population of young students as they get early exposure to STEM education and the effect that has on them later on.

Standout Quote: “Diversifying our future STEM workforce creates opportunities for multilingual students to bring new ideas, perspectives, and solutions to our nation’s complex and challenging problems.”

Click here to read this article.

President Biden’s plan for free universal preschool – 5 questions answered

Date: May 12, 2021 | By Christina J. Weiland

This article discusses what President Biden’s proposal for free universal preschool means for families. Essentially, the proposal means every kid in America could, if their family wants them to, attend a publicly supported preschool program starting at age 3, and allow teachers access to high-quality curriculum (both play-based and academic) and on-the-job training.

Standout Quote: “Currently, children of wealthy families overwhelmingly go to preschool, and families with middle and low incomes often really struggle to find slots and to access the same quality of programs….People recognize the benefits of attending preschool, the high costs that put preschool out of reach for many working families, and working parents’ needs and preferences for a stimulating, safe environment for their young children.”

Click here to read this article.

Bonus Article: New Study Shows Structured Block Play Improves Addition and Subtraction

Date: February 2021

In a study by researchers at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University and the College of Education at the University of Alabama, structured block play using Blocks Rock! was found to improve addition and subtraction performance while also increasing activation in brain regions linked to memory, motor, and arithmetic processing after block training.

Standout Quote: “Both free and structured block play can be beneficial for children. However, structured block play, like Blocks Rock!, can have a greater impact on processes that overlap with mathematics, meaning it is more useful in preparation for STEM education.”

Click here to read this article.

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