By now you’ve probably heard about Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Texas teen who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school to show his engineering teacher. Unfortunately for the inquisitive teen, one of his teachers overreacted (probably because he’s brown and his name is Ahmed) and handed his invention over to the police because she said it looked like a bomb.
That’s when Ahmed’s horrible ordeal began.
According to the teen, he was interrogated, without his parents, for over an hour before being taken into handcuffs and arrested for bringing a “hoax bomb” to school. While Ahmed told anybody who would listen that his contraption was a clock, not a bomb, they still took him in.
Thankfully for Ahmed, the Dallas Morning News got ahold of his story and it immediately blew up on social media.
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
Last thing – you did good, internet. You put the smile back on his face. pic.twitter.com/eFdLuyd5rA
— Hend (@LibyaLiberty) September 16, 2015
Everybody from President Obama and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg chimed in to offer their support for Ahmed, and the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed began trending worldwide.
Ahmed’s story is a sad reminder of the prejudice our sons may encounter when they exhibit a love of science, or anything that isn’t stereotypical. Still, we can’t let their curiosity get extinguished before it can take hold and flourish.
While it’s disheartening Ahmed was arrested for trying to impress his teacher, the end result was awesome–he’s headed to the White House, he’ll get to hang out with tech leaders like Zuckerberg, and his dream school, MIT, has invited him to Boston for a tour.
Ahmed will probably be just fine, but so many of our boys are getting left out of STEM opportunities…and we can’t afford to let that happen.
Recently, I read a New York Times article about people who’ve ditched their low-paying jobs by enrolling in a coding bootcamp and then getting a much higher paying gig. One guy went from making $20,000 to $100,000 as a programmer in just three months. Another, a 24 year old woman, enrolled in an 24-week course and secured a $80,000 job.
While most of our kids LOVE technology and can hardly function without some kind of device in their hands , encouraging them to learn how to actually build the things they love playing with will not only give them a deeper understanding of science, but it may also set them up for a lucrative career in the future.
Need help getting started? Here are 3 ways you can encourage a love of science in your #BrownBoyGenius
Let him play Minecraft
I admit, I didn’t understand why Le Kid LOVED Minecraft so much when he first started playing it, and I even thought about cutting down his ‘crafting time. But after doing a little research and seeing how his creativity has flourished after playing the game, I relaxed. Aside from introducing kids to the Earth’s minerals, Minecraft teaches them critical thinking, problem solving, and planning skills. It also can be used to teach math, history, and science.
Encourage him to Tynker around
Tynker is a fun, web-based program that teaches kids how to code. In Tynker, kids can make games, animations, stories and more using the site’s easy drag and drop visual programming. While it won’t teach your BrownBoyGenius how to build the next blockbuster app, it will introduce him to the world of programming that may serve him well down the line. (btw: sign up for a free hour of code, here)
Visit science museums…often!
I don’t know about you, but Le Kid and I have spent a lot of time in museums, especially when we homeschooled. Over the summer we visited two AMAZING museums–the California Academy of Sciences + the Exploratorium–and had a wonderful time exploring several different types of sciences. Sure letting your kid play with coding apps and games is fun, but nothing really compares to hands-on activities that stoke their love of science.
How do you encourage your BrownBoyGenius to love science?
Tell us in the comments below!