STEM is the future – with international research indicating that 75 percent of the fastest growing occupations today require science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills and knowledge. In response to this demand, there needs to be a strong focus on increasing attitudes and interest towards STEM subjects, both inside and outside the classroom.
However, a 2017 report showed a decline in university students in Australia choosing STEM courses, from 30 percent in 2000 to an alarming 18 percent in 2015. National surveys indicated the decrease was due to a lack of interest in STEM subjects in schools and in information regarding STEM careers. The Scots College has been applying an integrated approach towards STEM subjects for some time. However, it takes the combined efforts of parents and schools to instil a keen and ongoing interest towards STEM.
Here’s how to get your son interested in STEM subjects.
1. Go exploring
Embark on a hike or a bush walk together – encourage him to point out the environmental surroundings. Another great activity is asking your son to direct you to school or to use a map to navigate on the next car trip. Spatial ability has been identified as an important personal resource for achieving in STEM subjects.
2. Conduct experiments
Why not turn a room at home into a science lab? You could conduct a blind-fold taste or smell test to ignite your son’s interest around senses. Another simple experiment to help him discover the fun and ‘magic’ of science is by placing a bar of ivory soap in the microwave and watching as it grows into a fluffy, snow-like pile.
3. Make him your ‘DIY Assistant’
Give him the task of being your little helper. Hang a picture frame or artwork on the wall or build a piece of furniture together (hello IKEA). You could ask him to read the instruction manual and help guide you through the process. Such activities can strengthen your son’s problem-solving skills while spending time together.
4. Get in the kitchen
Bake a cake together. Talk about chemical changes, measurements and fractions. This will add value to his interest towards mathematics and science. Decorating and plating may also spark an interest in the creative and playful side of learning, with a focus on both the process and outcome, from start to finish.
Not all STEM activities will engage the same child, so it may take some trial and error to see what interests your son the most. You can learn more about why STEM is important for your son's future in this blog or by downloading this research report. Continue the process of getting your son interested in STEM outside the classroom by embracing STEM activities in everyday life, rather than a task.
Download our Prospectus to learn more about experiential learning opportunities available at The Scots College.