Math and science are foundational for a well-rounded education. Proficiency in these subjects allows students to embark on exciting careers, solving the world’s problems, building the technology of the future, and even curing deadly diseases. Unfortunately, many students start out excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), but often lose interest as they move through elementary, middle, and high school. Only 28% of high school freshmen are interested in STEM, and 57% of those students are likely to lose interest in pursuing one of these in-demand fields by the time they graduate.
While not everyone needs to go into a STEM field, technology has become intertwined with our everyday lives, and demand for these jobs is growing. It is essential to get students excited and confident about STEM subjects so that they have the tools to pursue the careers they want. Whether you’re an educator, parent, or student, here are 7 great resources that can build STEM skills and excitement about pursuing these fields.
Teachers can get lesson plans for exciting projects from Science Buddies, which integrate seamlessly with Google Classroom. Planning a science fair? Science Buddies gives you everything you need to plan, grade, and schedule your fair (ribbons not included).
Teachers aren’t the only ones who get great resources on Science Buddies, however. Parents can buy science kits, get tips, and search for science camps in their area. There’s also a section for students looking for information on science projects, video projects, and more.
STEMfinity is an ecommerce site, but they’ve also put together a massive list of STEM resources for educators, parents, and students. The site has a section for each of the four STEM disciplines, along with lesson plans and activities, digital tools, video, and coding. STEMfinity offers enough material to keep any student busy all through school!
Kids can follow the monster’s instructions, or simply play around with the code and see what it does. Code Monster is one of many simple coding games (Code Combat is another) that are a great introduction to this important and in-demand skill.
Project Noah focuses on life sciences, like wildlife, biodiversity, and conservation. Teachers can register and get “missions” to help students understand concepts like symbiotic relationships, and teach them to see the biodiversity in the world around them. These missions help students investigate and connect with nature through writing, exploration, and observation.
Teachers and parents alike are turning to powerful digital tools like Koantum to engage and educate students in STEM disciplines. Koantum is an online learning platform for grades K-5. These interactive science lessons get students excited about learning, while allowing educators to track their progress. The self-paced lessons can be used within a curriculum, or as a supplemental activity. The service is not free, but it can be a great option for some schools and families.
Tulane STEM Enrichment Institute
For students who want to engage deeply with STEM subjects, a summer program can be a great option for an immersive experience. Tulane offers a STEM summer program for high school students who want to learn more about how to apply STEM education in the real world. During this intensive program, students can choose from diverse programs, ranging from “Crumbling Power Grids: Fixing Today’s Systems and Designing for the Future,” to “The Aftermath of Mardi Gras: Using Lego Robots to Clean Up the Beads.”
Focusing on environmental and energy solutions, the Department of Energy has a great selection of resources for students of all ages that showcase the current problems in sustainability and demonstrate how STEM advances can help solve those problems. These resources include activities and investigations to engage and inspire.
Only the Beginning
These resources are only the beginning. There are so many free and inexpensive resources for parents, teachers, and students that can help enrich and advance learning. With the number of fun activities and simple-to-use software options available online, anyone can find something to get excited about—which is just what we need to inspire the STEM leaders of tomorrow.
Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. When she's not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.