November 8 is National STEM Day, which is an ideal time to spark students’ interest in an educational experience that will prepare them for the careers of the future.
Individually, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are subjects that help shape the foundation of any traditional education. However, understanding how those subjects relate to one another will help students develop the necessary skills for academic, professional, and personal success.
This diagram (located on page 3 of the document) illustrates how STEM as a whole is more than the sum of its individual subjects. For instance, math is used by scientists, and science is an integral part of the technology that engineers use to solve problems and design things.
“It is important to acknowledge that no one of these [STEM] subjects can accomplish these goals by itself,” writes David D. Thornburg in his paper Why STEM Topics are Interrelated: The Importance of Interdisciplinary Studies in K–12 Education. “They are all interrelated, and it is important that these relationships are understood by students.”
Your budding computer scientist, technologist, engineer, or mathematician may help build and code machines that process data 100 million times faster than today’s most powerful computers. They may solve climate change, colonize space, improve quality of life, or change today’s science fiction into the future’s scientific fact.
More than all of that, STEM studies help develop critical life skills such as reasoning, problem-solving, critical thinking, curiosity, creativity, and conceptual understanding. Regardless of what direction your kids take after high school, those skills can guide them toward success.
Talking to kids about STEM is important. STEM Day activities, in particular, help students draw real-life connections to the concepts.