STEM Education: 4 Ways to Inspire STEM Learners
- Jan 09, 2017
STEM Education & STEM Learners
STEM education is essential to prepare young learners for high-technology careers. Science, technology, engineering and math will be necessary skill areas for employees by the time today’s learners graduate. In fact, STEM jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs.
Not only that, but STEM will be a part of almost any career today’s students obtain after school. Therefore, it is extremely important for teachers of all levels to inspire students with STEM education. All young people should learn to think deeply and well so that they have a chance to be the innovators, educators and researchers of their generation. As a teacher, it’s your job to make this dream a reality. Take a look at four ways you can inspire STEM learning in your classroom.
1. Start Young
One of the biggest hurdles great STEM educators face is trying to engage older students about STEM for the first time. Some parents and teachers find it hard to define what age is appropriate for STEM learning. In reality, it’s never too early to start STEM education.
Kids need to get excited about science early to help inject imagination and creative factors into their learning process. Teaching young students about basic science, technology, engineering and math ideas lays a solid foundation for their educational future. Many qualities of young children also coincide with qualities of great STEM learners. For example, young children learn in active, interactive and test-like styles much like the styles of the best engineers, scientists and IT personnel .
2. Show Something Interesting
One of the best ways to get students excited about any subject is to show them something interesting. In English classes, sometimes that involves acting out scenes from Shakespeare. In History courses, it can involve watching movies about a selected time period. While the “something interesting” might be a bit different for STEM subjects, it’s still just as important to excite students and prepare them to learn.
Interest students with a wide variety of free and paid STEM resources. For example, learning how to code is a great life skill that children can start to learn with free websites like Codeacademy and fun games and apps. Another way to get kids interested in STEM subjects is with a school weather station. Getting kids excited about meteorology or any other science is easy when you show something interesting.
3. Participate in Training
One lesson many educators instill in their students is “Never stop learning.” This counts for teachers, too! Technology is always changing so if you feel as though you could benefit from learning a bit more about the STEM subject you teach, you’re in luck. There are a plethora of training resources available to you to make sure you are well-equipped for the task. The US Department of Education is committed to ensuring teachers in STEM subjects areas are well trained for the job. Programs like Investing in Innovation, the Teacher Incentive Fund, the Math and Science Partnerships program, Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow and the Teacher Quality Partnership program are all viable options for teachers who want to enrich their own knowledge further.
The National Education Association is another great place to discover new STEM teacher grants and training opportunities.