Amazon launches monthly subscription box for kids aimed at promoting STEM education

Providing parents an easy way to introduce science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to their kids, Amazon has launched STEM Club, a monthly subscription box filled with STEM toys.

The offering comes with the creation of a curated page giving shoppers easy access to STEM-friendly products for children, offering everything from small plastic microscopes to basic soldering kits. The collection allows users to filter between age brackets, popular brands, and mini-categories such as ‘physics’ and ‘chemistry’.

The STEM Club membership is priced at US$20 per month, with packages available for four age categories.

Though not yet available locally, the offering will likely make its way down under later this year as Amazon prepares for its launch in Australia.

Probably the worst kept ‘secret’ out there, Amazon is expected to launch locally in September and local retailers, both online and bricks and mortar, are being warned to prepare. The company is currently hiring big, with 100 Australian job listings open on its website. Giving nothing away, however, these reference only its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery product.

The STEM Club comes as concerns about STEM education continue to grow: the 2016 Crossroads report from StartupAUS called on the government to expand the Digital Technologies Curriculum and promote entrepreneurship programs in primary and secondary schools in order to ensure children are equipped for the jobs of the future.

So far, government programs across Australia are a mixed bag; arguably leading the pack is the Queensland state government, which made coding and robotics classes mandatory for students up to year 10.

The NSW Government’s Innovation Strategy, released late last year, meanwhile, previewed the development of the NSW STEM Foundation to support the growth of STEM and develop NSW Future Skills, a program currently identifying how prepared NSW students are for the workforce of the future and how to increase their participation in STEM subjects.

Of particular importance across the board, however, is the need to promote STEM education for girls and women. Released last November, the Busting Myths about Women in STEM report highlighted that misconceptions about women’s interest and experience in STEM, starting from their time at school, is holding back progress progress in science and society.

The report stated that the sector must embrace women in order for Australia to benefit from both economic and social growth.

With this in mind, it is promising to see that Amazon’s STEM Club doesn’t offer gendered boxes and product categories, helping to avoid the stereotypes the STEM field is known for.

Image Source: Fortune.

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