No matter where a child’s life leads them or what career they choose to pursue, STEM skills are essential. These skills help kids learn to be better critical thinkers, better problem solvers and better communicators.
This is why it’s so important for kids to start developing their STEM skills early!
STEM skills provide a foundation for future learning and help prepare kids for the (eventual) workforce. The demand for STEM workers is growing and students who have strong STEM skills will be more likely to find good jobs and have successful careers.
Oddly enough, most of the jobs that our kids will apply for probably don’t currently exist. That’s why it is critical for kids to develop STEM skills. These skills are transferrable to any career and help students become well-rounded and highly qualified candidates.
So how can you help elementary school students develop their STEM skills?
Encourage students to ask questions.
When students ask questions, it shows that they are curious and engaged in learning. Asking good questions shows higher level thinking skills, better understanding of problem and enhances collaboration in finding solutions. Take a look at The Art of Questioning.
Provide students with hands-on activities.
Hands-on activities help students learn by doing and promote both iterative learning and problem solving. Engineering design challenges like The Brown Bag STEM Challenge and/or The STEM Skills Challenge align to NGSS standards and allow students to not only create solutions to problems but also to explore creativity.
Share potential STEM careers with students.
It’s powerful for kids to see and interact with people in different careers. Seeing people who are successful in STEM can inspire students to pursue STEM careers. It can also present an opportunity for a student to gain a mentor for an industry or career they are interested in pursuing. Consider participating in projects like The Electric Propulsion Innovation Challenge to help kids get a jump start.
No matter how you decide to teach and incorporate STEM skills into your day, be sure to celebrate student successes! When students succeed in STEM, it helps them build confidence and motivation. Confidence and motivation can help students be successful no matter what career they choose to pursue.
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Lane specializes in STEM curriculum design and professional development for K-12 stakeholders and enjoys making teachers’ lives easier through innovative, standards-based STEM lessons.