Why are so many people making a fuss over STEM education?
What exactly is STEM, anyway, and why should you care about it?
STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, has become extremely important in our society, and its relevance is only expected to increase in the future. The U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, the government agency that keeps track of numbers on job growth and related topics, notes that employment in STEM-related jobs grew at a much more rapid rate from 2005 to 2015 than employment in non-STEM positions. These numbers indicate that the rate of employment growth for jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields during that decade was 24.4 percent, as opposed to a 4.1 percent growth rate in other jobs. The department expects that STEM jobs will continue to grow at a rate of 8.9 percent over the next decade.
Those who work in STEM jobs also tend to earn higher annual salaries than those working in non-STEM jobs, the Office of the Chief Economist notes. In 2015, for example, people working in STEM jobs typically earned an average of 29 percent more per year than those working in non-STEM jobs.
STEM is not only important in the work that we do, but it also has become a large part of our world.:
Science is vitally important in issues all around us, everywhere we look – from taking care of animals to conserving the planet’s resources, to coming up with new medical treatments for diseases and conditions.
Technology has evolved into such a critical aspect of our day-to-day routines. We could not travel to many places without GPS technology, for example, or keep in touch with friends and loved ones without our smartphones.
Engineering helps to keep our entire world together and functioning properly. The bridges and roads we travel every day, as well as the school buildings in which we spend our daytime hours, have been created by the talents and intelligence of engineers. The solar panels and other energy-saving modifications to our homes are also in place thanks to engineers.
Mathematics might not be the favorite school subject for some, it is involved in virtually every activity in which we participate. In cooking, for example, we must be able to measure and convert units so that we can create the perfect recipe. In building a house, we must be able to calculate areas and other measurements to construct buildings that will withstand nature’s forces.
These factors help to explain why STEM education is so relevant today. Being educated and able to get a job in a well-paying, fulfilling, promising STEM field is one way in which adults are trying to make that an option for more kids. Non-profit organizations, government agencies, groups of educators, scientists, parents, engineers, corporations, and foundations have all come together to create ways that kids can have access to the best STEM education that they can provide.
STEM education does not have to be something boring confined to the classroom! There are many of fun ways that kids can learn more about STEM, both in and out of the classroom. The websites listed below provide fun online STEM games for children from elementary through middle school age. All sorts of STEM subjects are covered in these websites, from astronomy, ecology, and wildlife to chemistry, mathematical equations, computer coding, and design. Parents, teachers and other adults who are in charge can be assured that these websites have been thoroughly checked and are appropriate for children up through middle school age. Enjoy the limitless, fun STEM activities that the websites below can offer to keep kids engaged and interested while, at the same time, enjoying and immersed in STEM education.
- Ask Dr. Universe
- Kids Do Ecology
- Nasa Kids Club
- National Geographic Kids
- Calculation Nation
- Math Blaster
- Museum of Science + Industry Chicago Games
- Kinetic City
- PBS KIDS STEM Video Game Challenge
- Science Kids
- SCORE Science Kid’s Corner
- Bill Nye the Science Guy
- Sheppard Software Math Games
- TryEngineering Games
- STEM Games on BrainPop