According to MDR, the demand for employees in STEM careers is continuing to outgrow the supply of trained workers. Many elementary teachers don’t feel confident about teaching science so students are spending a significantly small amount of time on this subject. This is leading to less students taking an interest in science content later in their education.
Teachers need to feel more confident teaching STEM curriculum to better prepare students for high school and beyond. Let’s start fixing this today!
- Support teachers with a continuum of professional development – Teachers need access to professional development that includes and goes beyond content training. Teachers should be trained to effectively teach their curriculum and taught best practices for creating an effective learning environment, building scientific understanding, and engaging students in scientific and engineering practices.
- Make it easy for teachers to help students learn science by doing science – Districts need to provide teachers with STEM curriculum that makes teaching science easy and engaging and provide support when teachers need it.
- Start early – To get students to pursue a STEM career, it is important to expose students to STEM early with age-appropriate learn-by-doing exercises. When STEM is accessible and easy for preschool teachers to implement, time spent on STEM instruction increases. A 2016 study showed that students who received STEM instruction in prekindergarten had a higher science achievement in Kindergarten
- Certify that teachers, campuses, and districts are prepared to teach STEM – The NISE supports STEM excellence and teaching by providing professional development and National STEM Certificates for prek-12 teachers, campuses, and districts.
- Prepare all students for STEM success – Districts need to provide teachers and students the tools they need to make science more relevant and engaging for students. STEM skills are highly useful even if the students choose a different career path.
Do you have other ideas to increase STEM engagement in elementary schools? Share your ideas below.