Start them young: How to get children to develop an interest in STEM

Studyinternational | February 20, 2019

You may order food, read eBooks and navigate the roads using different apps on your phone, stream shows on your laptop and marvel at complex architectures within your local community or when travelling abroad.All of this is possible thanks to individuals working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Clearly, STEM permeates just about every aspect of our lives and will continue to do so long into future. However, STEM graduate shortages have been reported both in Asian and western countries. For example, a Pew Research Center report found that half of Americans think young people don’t pursue STEM because it is too hard.It added: “Smaller shares say the main reason more young people don’t pursue degrees in STEM is that they think STEM subjects are not useful for their careers (23 percent) or they think these subjects are too boring (12 percent).”This is despite the fact that STEM workers typically earn more than non-STEM workers, making this relevant to low-income families.So how can teachers and parents instil students or children with a love for STEM? According to reports, the key to getting children interested in STEM may lie in exposing and making STEM interesting for them from a young age.The Center for Childhood Creativity (CCC) report noted that STEM thinking begins in infancy and that these roots “must be encouraged through engagement and play in order [to] inherent tendencies to develop into lifelong STEM thinking skills”.Meanwhile, a recent EuroScientist report by Sean Olesen notes that while children learn math and science throughout school, “programmes in engineering and technology are lacking”.

Spotlight

Research indicates that Project Based Learning (PBL) has a positive effect on critical thinking, motivation and engagement. As we learn more about how the brain works and how humans acquire information, we are slowly tweaking our framework for learning. In old school houses, children were grouped heterogeneously by age and given the same lecture. They were expected to sit and listen.

Spotlight

Research indicates that Project Based Learning (PBL) has a positive effect on critical thinking, motivation and engagement. As we learn more about how the brain works and how humans acquire information, we are slowly tweaking our framework for learning. In old school houses, children were grouped heterogeneously by age and given the same lecture. They were expected to sit and listen.

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