Infusing Family Culture in STEM Learning

Read the blog post written by Dr. Hsiu-Wen Yang, and learn how to infuse family culture in STEM learning opportunities.

Hsiuwen Yang's headshot

By Hsiu-Wen Yang, PhD. 

Technical Assistance Specialist at STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center (STEMIE)

I have lived in the United States for almost eight years, and I am always proud of my cultural heritage. Throughout these eight years, whenever I see my culture being reflected positively in the community, in my workplace, or through mass media, I feel a sense of belonging.

We all need to feel a sense of belonging and positive affirmation. As a researcher and practitioner in the field of early intervention and early childhood special education, I have always been aware of the importance of building a sense of belonging for children and their families . Certainly, creating a sense of belonging is not only displaying photos of children and families from various cultural backgrounds but also embedding children’s experiences and family traditions into the teaching practices.

Food is a great way to provide connections to different cultures and family traditions. For example, I grew up eating congee (粥) or rice porridge and Dan Bing (i.e., Taiwanese egg pancake roll; 蛋餅) for breakfast. My family and I love having hot pot every holiday and special occasion.

In this blog post, I will describe an activity that could use food and pretend play as a means to support children’s STEM learning. At the end of the blog post, I will also introduce a couple of STEM storybooks about AAPI culture and food.

Making play dough dumplings

Dumplings are something I often make and eat with my family. Our dumplings use a flour-based dough and we use cabbage, ground meat, and chives that are lightly seasoned with soy sauce as the filling. We then either steam or pan fry our dumplings. There are many other types of dumplings of different shapes and sizes within Taiwanese and Chinese cultures as well as in other cultures around the world. As an occupational therapist, I love using this activity to improve children’s fine motor skills, practice bilateral coordination, and engage in STEM concepts (e.g., sequencing, counting, shape).

Materials:

  • Play dough
  • A play dough rolling pin or a wooden stick
  • A Circle shape cookie cutter or the bottom of a drinking cup.
  • Ingredients (e.g., marbles, beads, small blocks)

Directions:

  • Take a small amount of the dough, roll it into a sphere
  • Use the palm to press the dough down
  • Use the rolling pin to flatten the dough and make it into a circular shape (or use the cookie cutter)
  • Place the ingredients in the middle of the rolled out dough or “dumpling skin”
  • Fold the “dumpling skin” into half
  • Seal the dumpling by making creases on the top using your thumb and pointer finger

Visual pictures
10509767083?profile=RESIZE_710x

Use questions and conversation to engage children in STEM learning and talk about children’s culture and family tradition

  • What food does your family like to make and eat together on special days?
  • First, we roll the dough into a ball, then we roll it to flatten it. What should we do next?
  • We have 10 friends in class and everyone would like one dumpling. How many dumplings have you made? How many more do we need?
  • What shape are you making?
  • How many beads can you put in your dumpling? How can we put more ingredients in the dumpling?
  • What else would you like to fill dumplings with?

STEM storybooks about AAPI food culture that you could consider including on your bookshelves

10509767688?profile=RESIZE_180x180

Luna's Yum Yum Dim Sum (Storytelling Math) 

Natasha Yim 

Math 

Luna is having Dim Sum on her birthday. She and her brothers are talking about how to share buns fairly. 

10509770088?profile=RESIZE_180x180Too Many Mangoes

Tammy Paikai

Science & Math 

Kama and Nani help their grandpa pick mangos from his giant mango tree.  After the picking, Kama and Nani share some mangoes with neighbors. 

10509777876?profile=RESIZE_180x180Ohana Means Family 

 Ilima Loomis 

 A family prepares a tasty root called Kalo for a traditional luau celebration.  

10509778880?profile=RESIZE_180x180One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale 

 Demi 

 Math

 A young girl tricks a greedy king to double one grain of rice every day for three years.  

10509780291?profile=RESIZE_180x180Ten Blocks to the Big Wok 

 Ying-Hwa Hu 

 Math 

 Mia and her uncle Eddie travel from their apartment to a restaurant in Chinatown. They see many things in Chinatown. 

10509781478?profile=RESIZE_180x180The Ugly Vegetables

Grace Lin 

Science 

A little girl and her mother grow vegetables in their gardens while their neighbors grow colorful flowers.  

10509783064?profile=RESIZE_180x180 

Kai Goes to the Farmers Market in Hawaii 

Catherine Toth Fox 

Kai ad his mother buy food grown in Hawaii from the farmers.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of stem4ec to add comments!

Join stem4ec

Welcome

Hello and welcome to the STEM4EC Community.  We invite your participation.

Read More >

Dushel Tesla is now a member of stem4ec
Nov 15
Lisa Donnelly is now a member of stem4ec
Nov 4
STEMIE Center posted a blog post
STEAM is a vehicle for children's social emotion development. Read the blog post and learn how to suppor children's problem solving skills within STEAM learning activities.



Dr. Yvette Mere-Cook works as a Child Development Demonstration Lecturer…
Oct 24
STEMIE Center posted a blog post
Read the blog post and learn how to use project approach to support inclusive early STEM learning! 

By Sallee Beneke
Project work is an approach to learning that can support inclusion of diverse learners. A project is an in-depth investigation of a…
Sep 25
Marc Baxter, Liz B and Shannon Olson joined stem4ec
Sep 7
Mary Ellen Davis is now a member of stem4ec
Aug 19
Sallee Beneke is now a member of stem4ec
Aug 17
Tuyet Ngo is now a member of stem4ec
Jul 22
Kelli Shrewsberry is now a member of stem4ec
Jul 13
Kelsie Szeszulski is now a member of stem4ec
Jun 30
M Smith and Remy Poon joined stem4ec
Jun 29
STEMIE Center posted a blog post
“When I walk into a room, I’m Black. When I walk into a room, I’m a woman. When I walk into a room, I’m a Black woman. Different people process these things differently. Historically Black people have been perceived as less intelligent, and even…
Jun 24
Nancy Joerger is now a member of stem4ec
Jun 21
Carla Rhoades is now a member of stem4ec
Jun 19
Alka Patel is now a member of stem4ec
Jun 17
Dawn Wilkinson is now a member of stem4ec
Jun 12
More…

Community Guidelines and Privacy Statement