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Take your STEM lessons out of the classroom with car maintenance, a fantastic real world STEM project with life skills. STEM Learning with Car Maintenance.
STEM learning is becoming increasingly popular in the classroom, but it’s easy to forget that the point of STEM is real world applications. We love incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering and Math into our education. But to really make a powerful impact with STEM learning, you need to bring it into the real world. We found a fantastic way to bring STEM to life through lessons on car maintenance.
Since we live in the country a car is critical for our survival. Without a reliable vehicle we can not get food, get to work, or complete the many errands that fill our days. There is no public transit. Walking to the nearest store would take about 2 hours each way. And that’s when it isn’t blisteringly cold and we are up to our hips in snow. We do live in Canada after all.
A car is essential to our lives, and as long as we all remain living in this area, our children will also require cars when they are older.
Because of this, I believe it is very important that our boys learn proper car care and we often involve them in our routine car maintenance. The best part is that our car maintenance lessons are a wonderful real life integration of STEM learning.
Our car maintenance lessons are a wonderful real life integration of STEM learning.
Winter is coming and that means it’s time to get the oil changed and winterize our vehicles. This year, our boys helped with this critical car care project. They learned everything from safety, proper disposal of used oil, and, most importantly, all the amazing STEM lessons.
The first step was going to Walmart and picking up the oil.
For us, Quaker State® Ultimate Durability™ Full Synthetic Motor Oil is exactly what we need. It offers more durability, more engine life and more performance through superior lubrication flow and pumpability in below-freezing temperatures. We live in an extreme climate, often hitting below freezing temperatures eight months out of the year. It’s really important that our boys understand how harsh our Canadian weather is on our cars, and how important it is to pick the right products. Using the right products keeps our cars reliable, no matter what mother nature throws at us.
Talking about our Quaker State oil was a fantastic STEM moment. We explained how the engine works and the amazing engineering that goes into building a car. Then we talked about how the oil functions as a lubricant to keep all those engine parts moving smoothly. We also discussed the importance of viscosity and how temperature affects the viscosity of the oil in our engines. We have done viscosity experiments, but this was the first time they were able to see the real life implications and importance of viscosity.
If your engine is filled with oil that is the wrong viscosity, you are going to run into engine troubles.
We even brought in some math. Talking about the difference between quarts (used in the USA where Quaker State® Ultimate Durability™ Full Synthetic Motor Oil is on rollback at Walmart for $19.77!) and litres (used here in Canada), and worked out the conversion between the two measurements. This ensured we used the right amount of oil and purchased the correct quantity.
Finally, we brought it all together and chatted about the brains of our cars: the technology and computers. Our family car is so smart it can even tell me when it is due for an oil change. Unlike our cars of the past that only gave us that check oil light when something was going wrong.
The best part of this STEM learning…
As we did the oil change and the boys learned about cars, oil and STEM, it also became a wonderful bonding moment for our family. Together we winterized our car, protecting it from the elements. Our boys learned how to apply their STEM lessons in a practical way, and that STEM in the real world is vitally important. It means having a reliable and durable mode of transportation that enables us to live our lives.
Of all the STEM lessons we’ve taught our boys, this one will stick with them for years. Not only did they get to spend some wonderful family time working on a real car, but they now have important life skills that have practical applications. Skills that empower them with ability to properly care for their future cars.
I’m so glad we have incorporated car maintenance into our STEM learning. It has been a huge success. Next time you are working on your car or doing any routine maintenance, include your children in the process. They will love it and you will be teaching them some extremely valuable, real life, STEM lessons.