The Importance of STEM in Education - Shannon Burton

Occupations in the STEM field are growing at a rate of 17% across the United States. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics play a major role in the sustained growth and stability of our economy and are one of the most critical components to help lead us into the future. Involving our students in STEM education at an early age helps create critical thinkers, increase their science literacy, and enables them to become innovators.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are present in our every day lives from the creation of roads and bridges to create a more environmentally friendly world; STEM is all around us. If we can expose our students to STEM and give them an opportunity to explore concepts related to it, it can help spark a passion for their future career in a STEM field.

Engineering is About Creating

Creative, artistic students often shy away from engineering because they do not see the creative side of engineering. True innovation comes from unexpected combinations and instead of emphasizing the analytical side of engineering, introduce students to the creative side. Allow them to engage their artistic and creative side through experimentation.

Get Them Involved in What They are Interested in

It is important to use students passions and things the things they are interested in and allow them to use those skills to explore new skills. Using their interests helps create a “buy-in” and helps keep them interested and engaged with the material they are working with.

Math and Science

One of the biggest barriers that make students shy away from STEM is the belief that they will only be focusing on math and science. Students are often afraid that they are not very good at one or both of the subjects then the field of STEM is not for them. As educational professionals, it is imperative to remind students that they do not have to be perfect in something to be able to participate! STEM is more about being a creative problem solver then figuring out the ratio of a circle!

Let Them Help Others

Studies have shown that students respond better when they are in a position to help other people. Giving them a project that allows them to solve a problem for someone while exploring the STEM field can capture their interest. This not only allows students to connect with what they are working on but it also allows them to become problem solvers which is one of the biggest skills students gain when engaging in STEM-related activities.