How You Can Unlock the Potential of the Adolescent Mind for STEM Education

Your kids’ developing brain experiences many changes as they approach adolescence. These changes spur the brain on the creative path for developing innovative ideas.

With a proper understanding of the changes and the right learning environment, you can put your kid on the right path to STEM education, robotics for kids and coding for kids.

The Cortex is Vital

The cortex plays a vital role at the adoloscent stage. It supports our ability to be aware of our surroundings, reason through and evaluate situations, to recall past experiences, and pause and consider what is happening.

It is the master control centre that coordinates and balances the whole brain and the body itself.

The linking of several brain regions to one another occurs in part thanks to the cortex’s frontal lobe. As it balances and regulates much of what happens throughout the brain, including in the nervous system across the body, the cortex serves an integrative function in this way.

The cortex’s frontal regions also connect our neural activity to that of other nervous systems and other people’s brains. Thus, it supports the development of our internal mental processes, like reasoning and decision-making, and also the social functions, such as empathy and moral behaviour,

Thus, changes in the brain of your adolescent kids entail a greater level of integration in the cortex that spawns diverse abilities such as cognitive control, self-understanding, emotional regulation and social functions to navigate through adolescence.

So when we speak about changes in the adolescent brain, we’ll see that many of these essential changes involve increasing levels of integration, primarily carried out in the cortex.

This increased cortical integration enables such diverse abilities as cognitive control, emotional regulation, self-understanding and social functions to change and emerge throughout adolescence.

These skills will help your kid navigate through the STEM fields and STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, robotics classes for kids and code lessons.

Greater Integration for Creativity

During adolescence, the brain becomes more integrated. Different areas of the brain become interconnected in more effective ways. Such a procedure leads to more specialized and effective information processing.

What’s essentially happening is remodelling, which is influenced by two things: genetics and experience.

Adolescent kids and teenagers start becoming aware of themselves and think about life in conceptual and abstract ways due to remodelling changes in the integrative frontal areas of the cortex.

The developing adolescent minds start to deliberately and imaginatively investigate the more profound implications of everything—life, friendships, parents, school, and everything else. Even our capacity for self-reflection develops during the adolescent years.

While some of the timing of these changes is determined by genes, experience—what we think, what we talk about with friends, how we spend our time—also help to develop this new perspective on the world.

However, family support and having conversations with your kids are necessary. Therefore your role as a parent is essential. Some teenagers might avoid having these thoughtful discussions or reflections with their friends or family.

Their interpersonal experience of developing self-awareness may not be as advanced in this circumstance. The areas of the brain that perform these functions are directly stimulated by what we pay attention to and how much time we spend performing them.

Creative and Conceptual Thinking

The remodelling of the brain promotes the emergence and development of conceptual thinking and creative inquiry.

With this enhanced capacity of consciousness, adolescent kids begin to enter a potentially new way of thinking about the world.

This new method of thinking challenges traditional ways of doing things, as opposed to the old pattern of just following along with earlier knowledge that kids absorbed from adults when they were too young. This new way of thinking also makes kids realize that there are several ways and not just one to do different things.

These brain changes lend power to an adolescent mind by enabling them to think and solve problems creatively. We could even claim that this is the teenage period’s primary task and goal—the very essence of adolescence.

Because of the brain’s developmental shifts in the reward centres and the cortex throughout this period of growth and change, adolescence is a particularly fertile period for innovation. Adolescents are motivated to learn new things and explore the environment in novel ways.

During adolescence, three factors contribute to the capacity and passion for creative thought – greater reward drive, increased novelty seeking and abstract and conceptual thinking.

These abilities must be combined with focused study to enable kids to apply these for innovation.

How Can You Help

Managing adolescent kids can become difficult for you as a parent as these growing up years can entail danger and rebellion in addition to creativity in kids.

Erratic behaviour and unwarranted risks on the part of kids can put them and others in danger. However, a middle ground needs to be found where the drive for novelty and the creation of new explorations within adolescents can be honoured.

If parents strongly resist these normal transitions, rejecting teenagers as they reject us, the result could be a breakdown in intergenerational communication.

The problem is to view the developing adolescent mind and the powerful teenage brain as strengths rather than liabilities.

However, honouring the drive for innovation in adolescents doesn’t mean not setting limits. It entails recognizing the motives underlying the behaviours. Adolescence hosts a curious mind. If adults stop that, kids’ desire for novelty will be stifled, they will lose their connection with the world, and no one will gain.

As adults, we can interpret a teen’s need to experiment to create novelty as solely a problem or a sign that they are “crazy.”

But it’s hardly a good message for anyone to keep implying that kids’ urge for novelty suggests they are “out of their minds”. This urge is natural and healthy. As adolescents, we are transitioning from our old to our new thoughts, and the adolescent mind is full of positive power and the capacity for innovation.

Furthermore, we must all respect this power. The idea is to realize that potential, whether you’re a child or an adult and to assist others.