On Friday, November 8th, teachers all over the United States will celebrate National STEM Day with their students to encourage exploration in science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM education is crucial for 21st-century students. STEM-related careers are growing 70 percent more than others, and that demand will only increase. As a result, the education world is continuously evolving to implement STEM into the classroom.
Hands-on, technology-rich learning experiences in STEM help students model and practice the skills they need for their future success. Since we know teachers are always on the lookout for new ways to introduce STEM topics into their classrooms, we have collected some helpful resources for you to use.
Engaging Your Students in STEM Learning
Make STEM relevant. Students are more likely to engage in something they can relate to in real life. Topics such as renewable energy and its implications for climate change can spark students’ curiosity and inspire students to take science seriously.
Talk about the need. Start conversations with your students around the rapid changes that are happening in their lives right now due to technology and media and how the workplace they will enter as adults will be very different than their parents’ workplaces.
Get interactive. Students learn by doing. Introduce your classes to inquiry-based experiments that allow your students to observe phenomena rather than just hear or read about it.
The Future Workforce
Learning how to work in groups to develop students’ communication, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking skills are essential for success in any STEM-related career. Here are some key talking points to help start conversations around the need for STEM in your classroom.
- According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the growth of STEM-related jobs over the last decade outpaced non-STEM jobs by over 20 percent. These new jobs pay up to 29 percent more on average than non-STEM related occupations. This translates into opportunities for your students to have more career options, better financial stability, and resources as adults to support their families.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in computer-related occupations is projected to increase by 12.5 percent from 2014 to 2024, resulting in nearly half a million new jobs, much more than any other STEM profession. That means students who have regular opportunities to use technology to learn about their world and communicate information digitally are better prepared for these jobs.
Boosting STEM with Quality Resources and Data-Collection
Having a collection of quality ready-to-use STEM resources is essential for any educator’s toolbox. Resources like the National Science Teaching Association’s STEM page connects teachers to technology-rich competitions like the eCybermission Challenge from the U.S. Army’s Outreach Program. Microsoft’s Hacking STEM lessons offers a wealth of teacher-created, project-based activities for students that integrate rich technology with hands-on learning. Inspire students to design and test renewable energy structures such as wind turbines and solar structures for the KidWind Challenge.
Collecting and analyzing data from the real world is another great way that you can challenge your students to apply their knowledge to complex STEM concepts. When students connect their learning with real-life examples, retention of key information improves, and application of the skills in their work becomes more natural.
Vernier offers an array of solutions for data collection for STEM with our Go Direct® sensors, inquiry-based investigations, and free software. When coupled with our hands-on investigations, students form a deep understanding of scientific concepts such as energy, matter, and more. These offerings can fill in the missing gaps between the WHY and the HOW around STEM education.
You can learn more about Vernier solutions for STEM at learn.vernier.com.