How to Get Teens Interested in STEM at School

From hands-on experiences to museums and mentors, here are some tips on how to get interested in STEM in school

If you want to nurture your child’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), it’s important to go beyond the four walls of their classrooms. A report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine revealed that only 22 percent of American high school graduates are knowledgeable in these particular subjects. In fact, the chair of the committee stated that students have limited learning experiences that are confined to reading textbooks, passive listening, and memorizing disconnected facts.

That said, the chances are that your teenager probably needs more opportunities if they are to become more interested STEM. So here are some tips that can encourage them to take most interest in STEM subjects:

Show how to apply STEM to real life

It’s hard for your child to gain an interest in STEM if they can’t see why it’s relevant to everyday life. STEM education can be pretty intensive, so the whole process can get a little overwhelming. Thus, it’s important that your child takes a step back and looks at how it is relevant to their day-to-day life.

Digital Learning emphasizes that students must also be given a chance to see the concepts come to life in a real, physical environment. Allowing them to see how robots or even statistical software are developed, which can boost their interest and their confidence in pursuing a career in STEM. The key here is to expose them to experiences that can help them understand its importance.

Provide hands-on learning experiences

Hands-on learning experiences are very important. STEM experiments and projects provide your child the opportunity to witness firsthand how cool STEM is as they get to deep dive into certain fields.

Education design consultant Karen Aronian looked at how chess incorporates math and logic, which allows kids to learn while also enjoying the challenge of playing board games. On the other hand, they can be introduced to electronics through online resources like Upverter, which is a free, web-based printed circuit board (PCB) design tool. Upverter is the educational and student-friendly version similar to the industry standard design platform Altium 365. Both platforms allow users to design, share, and manufacture electronics all in one place. Through these hands-on activities, your teen can gain first-hand experience in these academic fields.

Take them to exhibits and museums

Another great way to encourage an interest in STEM is by visiting exhibits and museums. These centers not only improve their knowledge regarding STEM subjects, but they can also pique their curiosity when it comes to certain subjects.

Orlando Science Center is a staunch advocate of STEM learning through museums and their exhibits. This is an avenue to introduce teens to new and exciting STEM concepts. For instance, the Flight Lab allows visitors to learn more about aviation through virtual reality simulators. 

Held annually at OSC, Otronicon Interactive Tech Convention has created a rich environment for active STEM learning through hands-on exhibits, tech demonstrations, industry-professional-led workshops and panels, gaming competitions, and much more, connecting Central Florida audiences to industry experts and innovative tech that is driving the future.

 

Connect your child to a mentor

The teachers in your teen’s school can be the key to igniting their interest in STEM. By connecting them to a mentor, it will enable them to receive career advice which will help them map out a career path in STEM. This is even more significant for girls who want to join male-dominated fields, such as engineering and computer science.

If your child has a good role model in their school, encourage your teen to interact and learn more from this specific teacher. STEM after school clubs are a great place to meet good mentors. They provide them with an opportunity to talk about their interests with like-minded students. This allows their ideas to flourish, further encouraging them to delve deeper with regard to STEM topics.

At the end of the day, your teen will be more interested in STEM if they have opportunities to learn more about the subjects they are interested in. As a parent, you provide support by broadening their exposure to professionals and real-life STEM applications.