Although it is widely understood that STEM jobs are the fastest growing and best paying ones right now, there is a serious shortage of people able to work them. Tons of jobs open up all the time, yet, there are not enough people graduating with the required STEM degrees to fill those positions.
The trick is to get kids excited from an early age so they can grow up with an appreciation and understanding of science and technology. Not all of the kids that go through these STEM learning exercises will grow up and end up working in a related field. However, many will and that is the goal so we can end these shortages in the future. In this article, we will go over several ways that you can get your child excited about STEM.
1 – Do some experiments
Science is all around us and works in ways that we often take for granted. To a child, the technology around us simply exists. They don’t understand what went into getting the devices to work or the infrastructure to exist. This means it needs to be shown to them so they can understand how the world operates and get them excited to learn more.
By doing some experiments, you can show them that there is not some miracle that happens for technology to exist in our lives. There was somebody who worked on experimenting and learned from the results. They can do the same thing by doing some chemistry experiments at home, for example.
Just make sure that the experiment matches their age so they will enjoy it. This means that if you are doing an experiment with a kindergartner then something along the lines of a magnet experiment is going to work since it’s simple. Save the more complex ones to understand for the older kids.
It is also important to have an understanding of how the experiment works yourself. After it’s over it’s time to explain the process so they understand it isn’t some magical thing that happened. The experiment is supposed to show how reactions happen and all for a good reason. This will need to be part of the lesson to get them interested.
2 – Don’t limit to boys
Many girls out there are just as interested in STEM subjects as the boys are. The problem is that many people assume they aren’t and don’t offer any exposure to them about it. This is a big mistake as there is a need for more women in these STEM roles.
It is widely understood that a diverse workplace runs better and is more innovative than one in which there is a monoculture at work. New ideas and perspectives are an essential part of innovation particularly when it comes to science and technology. Women are much needed in these fields to make sure that there are different perspectives and ideas flowing.
Keep girls in mind when you are trying to encourage kids to learn more about STEM as they will be just as enthusiastic when they go through the experiments and other types of lessons.
3 – Look for role models
Kids need somebody to look up to as an example so it’s important for them to have a role model. Look for people that exemplify what STEM is all about that you can use to show them what people can achieve when they get into STEM fields. It is even better if the person looks like them so if you are teaching a girl or minority to get interested then finding people like them will work wonders.
Even some fictional characters work well to use as examples. Make sure that you point out the characters in their favorite show or cartoon who are doing things related to STEM and they will naturally gravitate to wanting to know more.
4 – Bring them to science museums
Kids learn best when they can be hands on. One of the funnest ways to learn about science and technology is to go to a children’s science museum and play with the exhibits there. There are usually demonstrations done by trained staff that know exactly how to speak a child’s language to get them excited.
By going to these museums a child can see a lot of science in action and get a deep appreciation of how the world around them works. Often, they work like games so it can hold their attention very well.