In New York City, where four year olds are tested once for giftedness – and never retested, the resulting school placement presumes that all high-scoring students possess the same aptitude and interest for the same subjects at the same rate. However, as anyone who has ever worked with children knows, some naturally learn more towards math, science and computer programming, while others prefer humanities like writing, history and the arts. (Still others just want to do their own thing and find all classes equally tedious.)
As the current magic bullet buzz-word in education is All STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) All the Time, a plethora of organizations are attempting to teach math and science via the humanities, even coming up with cute acronyms like STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) or STEAM’D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math & Design). But, at their core, all are fundamentally trying to take something a child is already interested in, and demonstrating where science and math fits in. That’s simple if your child’s interests are writing (you can code and publish an ebook!), fashion (measurement and materials!) or music (it’s fractions!). But what about for the history-loving kid?
If you feel your school isn’t doing enough to support your child’s passion (and honestly, when is a school ever capable of keeping up with a gifted kid when they decide to really, really dive into exploring a particular topic?) while also nudging them in the direction of STEM, you may want to consider checking out the $99 DNA kit from Ancestry.com.
It couldn’t be easier. Once the kit arrives at your home, just have your child spit into the provided tube, then mail it back. Within six weeks, you’ll get a report breaking down your family’s ethnicity by region and percentage. But that’s not all. The report also comes with an ethnicity estimate and an explanation of how it’s calculated (math), details about your countries of origin (history), migration patterns (geography), and even some classic period art for reference. For the science-minded kid, there’s the entire concept of DNA and genetic markers, and for the budding politician, you can discuss the controversy over at-home genetic testing and the government’s attempt to control it.
So whether your child is a STEM-fanatic who could use a few lessons about the less binary world, or a humanities-lover who insists they can’t see what role a knowledge of math and science could possibly play in their interests, Ancestry.com’s DNA kit could be a way to open their eyes – and their sense of identity.