The academic pillars of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, which are referred to as STEM, might be intimidating to parents and pose a challenge for parents to help motivate students in these subjects. Here is a brief introduction to STEM and the importance of getting students involved now:
Technology, engineering and other areas of STEM infiltrate every aspect of our lives and reflect a whole new way of living — from TVs to GPS systems and smart phones. Even though students are digital natives, they are often unaware of these subjects.
There is a misconception that schools have STEM subjects covered, with some schools offering only a few basic classes. The importance of STEM is more prevalent than ever, yet the U.S. Department of Education revealed that “only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career.”
There is a gap between STEM learning and the desire for STEM skills. Knowledge in these fields opens up more collegiate possibilities and long-term opportunities with career options and the ability to gain an edge economically in the future. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations — like computer engineer or biomolecular researcher —are growing at 17 percent, while other are growing at 9.8 percent.
Don’t place the responsibility on educators alone – parents need to take an active role in promoting STEM and bridging the gap. Start at an early age and plant the seed of curiosity in students. Middle school is where the gap begins and widens, so help maintain interest among teens by encouraging internships in these fields, highlighting relevant “real world” achievements and embracing the use of technologies that support STEM learning. Bridge the “gender gap” by encouraging both boys and girls.
Apply the same study tactics for creative subjects to STEM learning. Try using Post-it® Flags to mark important areas in textbooks or breakdown complex problems by mapping out solutions on Post-it® Big Pads and Post-it® Super Sticky Notes.