How can You Make STEM More Engaging for Students
- Dec 03, 2015
How many of you are interested to pursue a career in science and technology?
If you are passionate about the STEM subjects, you are perfect for this kind of profession, dear students.
However, a majority of students are not quite fond of studying subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. They might be inspired to learn English, Geography, Biology and Physics – but tend to avoid working on the STEM subjects. This is really unfortunate, because most of the careers associated with STEM are indeed lucrative and promise a great deal of growth opportunities!
While some students find STEM boring, there are others who find it sufficiently challenging to be able to master the basic concepts.
I am certain that students would enjoy studying the STEM subjects if their teachers incorporated some of the best measures to make STEM exciting for them. Since these subjects are conceptual, students need to understand the basic concepts while they make attempts to learn about them.
Developing an enthusiasm to study the STEM subjects at school would encourage students to continue studying them even in college.
Jobs related to Math, computer programming and engineering are some the most significant ones one can acquire if he is brilliant in the STEM subjects. Students have been losing interest in STEM because they are seldom exposed to technological improvements!
Let us learn about how you can make STEM more engaging for students in the following paragraphs.
#1. Expose Students to Practical Applications
As you already know, it is impossible to learn Science merely through the pages of a textbook or by solving numerous questions or mock test papers.
Unless you expose your students to practical scenarios, they would not be capable of grasping the basic ideas of the subject. They need to undergo practical experiments in the Biology, Physics and Chemistry laboratories present in the school, in order to master the STEM concepts.
Therefore, make it a point to make your students leave their chairs and be involved in ‘doing things’.
A hands-on learning experience would enable them to delve deeper into a particular subject matter. Also, it would trigger a curiosity in them to know the unknown and see the unseen. It would make things more interesting for learners, as compared to the traditional teaching techniques.
When students are engaged in practical experiments, they immediately acquire greater analytical skills.
They would be aware of the methodology of the experiment and the outcome that would indirectly help them earn brilliant grades in their exams too.
#2. Organize Field Trips
Next, you could offer your students a pleasant breather while they make efforts to learn about the STEM ideas you might be explaining to them.
Your students might be exhausted after turning the pages of their Chemistry books, or balancing equations, sitting in their classroom. So why not offer something unique to them that can enrich their learning experience, making it memorable? I have a wonderful idea.
You can organize a field trip, dear teachers.
This would let students work with STEM applications beyond their classrooms. So naturally, they would be impressed and eager to learn more. You might organize a visit to any local nature park or a science museum. It would be an educational trip that would make students keen to observe the different aspects of Science and Technology.
Teachers might also conduct a tour of an organization that is based on the STEM principles. It would motivate students to study harder and dedicate more time in learning their STEM lessons.
#3. Hold Competitions
If you are a teacher, I guess you must be aware of the fact that youngsters are naturally competitive.
So, here is a fantastic idea for you that can ensure that your students fall in love with the STEM subjects. You can hold competitions for them, in which they are provided a platform to compete with the classmates. It might be quiz competitions, group discussions or even debates.
Most children love classroom quiz competitions.
Divide your students into teams. Now, ask any question based on the STEM principles and let your students answer it. The team, members of which, answer the question first as well as accurately, earns points and wins. Organizing quiz contests would let students indulge in a healthy competition with their peers. This would in turn drive them towards learning the STEM concepts steadily!
Quizzes are an outstanding way to help students retain the information in their minds to a greater extent as compared to the ‘chalk-and-blackboard’ method or learning through textbooks.
Debates are also beneficial in helping students absorb the STEM topics faster as they participate in arguments with their peers.
#4. Offer Rewards to your Students
Every child is fascinated by rewards.
So why not offer your students some rewards for their progress or accomplishments in the STEM subjects? If your students have performed well in their exams, or have completed assignments successfully, they definitely deserve a reward from you!
It might not be anything too elaborate.
Let me give you an example. For every right answer your student comes up with, offer him a candy. Follow this process for the rest of your students as well.
If a particular group of students wins a classroom quiz contest, you can hand them some tickets. Arrange for some goodies at the end of the week. And, your students could be presented with these goodies against those tickets.
You would realize that your students look forward to your lessons, not only because of your rewards but also because of the ‘fun quotient’ associated with them.
When your students learn that you would be offering them these little rewards, they would be more attentive in your sessions. Moreover, they would participate more willingly in the classroom discussions. In short, they would feel energized by a simple compliment from you; or a candy!
#5. Let Students Work in Teams
Team-work always triggers a spark among students that goes a long way in helping them give a better performance in academics. When students collaborate on group projects or assignments, they need to work together with their classmates.
This creates an accumulation of multiple ideas.
Naturally, the assignments are of superior quality, due to the amalgamation of numerous ideas. This leads to the unlocking of immense creative potential among students. Furthermore, youngsters like working with their peers as it lets them interact with them even more and develop their social skills.
When students work with one another on tricky concepts, they are also able to assist each other in learning them.
On the other hand, if students are made to work on individual projects, they could end up feeling slightly bored with their tasks. This is because they would be required to pool their individual ideas into the project and that could be a bit tough for them. Team-work enables students to discuss the problem areas with their classmates and come up with effective solutions for the same.
#6. Introduce Guest Experts to your Class
While teachers are the best people who can impart knowledge to students, it would also be great if you could introduce guest experts into your classroom.
Your guest speakers would represent people from various STEM-related professions. Bringing them to your class would aid your students in knowing about the various careers associated with STEM. People in STEM professions would interact with your students and give them clues about what kind of jobs they might prefer and the general characteristics of such jobs.
Teachers might call them directly to the class.
Having said that, such professionals are extremely busy owing to their hectic schedules.
These experts could educate your students about the essential concepts of STEM that would be necessary for building a career in STEM.
They could also share with your students some of the unique tips for grooming for the STEM exams and scoring good grades in them. If your students are faced with learning issues while it comes to STEM, they can discuss them with the experts who visit their classes or speak to them over social networking platforms.
#7. Make it Relevant
STEM would appear more interesting for students if they find it relevant to their day-today activities.
Explain to your students how the different STEM ideas are similar to their activities of daily life and offer assignments that help you establish this fact. Perhaps you could instruct your students to conduct a research on a technological innovation that helped save lives or made the world a better place to live in, in some way or the other.
This research might be based on the following topics:
- The development of antibiotics
- The rise of different vaccines
- The crops that were developed by scientists
- The utility of satellites in forecasting the weather conditions
- The invention of running water
These are a few of the several STEM applications that you can ask your students to carry out a research on. You can also ask your students to pick an object that they observe daily, and invest their time in a good research about how it works. In simpler terms, your students must develop an aptitude for thinking logically and deeply.
These are some of the best ways in which teachers can make STEM engaging for all sorts of learners. You need to be well-prepared with the STEM subjects, prior to educating your students about the same. If you follow this practice, you would be able to encourage your students to be serious about STEM and be creative while learning it. After all, STEM subjects are really interesting and helps students to score decent grades. A growth mindset coupled with an optimistic frame of mind would aid students in learning this subject well and succeeding in a promising STEM-career!
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