According to a survey by the Program for International Student Assessment, the United States placed 35th and 27th out of 64 countries in math and science respectively. Could the way we approach science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) education be part of the reason American students are less interested in pursuing careers in STEM? It turns out that a lack of understanding about real world applications of STEM could be part of the issue. A recent study found that over half (52 percent) of surveyed students “don’t know anyone with a job in STEM.” However, when these same students were given more information about STEM jobs, such as website animator and video game creator, they became excited.
New solutions for getting children excited about STEM careers
Showing students how STEM can lead to a fun and engaging career is critical if Americans want to get more children and young adults interested in these fields. Some innovative approaches to STEM education we’re excited about include:
- Utilizing creative “makerspaces” where students can gather to explore and create, in order to promote problem solving and passionate learning
- Taking a “Lifelong Kindergarten” approach to learning that encourages imaginative thinking, playing and sharing at all ages
- Using tools like coloring books and picture books to make STEM subjects more approachable