With a shortfall of 173,000 skilled workers and 89% of technical and engineering businesses struggling to recruit, the UK’s skills gap is a very real problem. Combine this with the expected number of these roles to double over the next decade and the current shortage already costing the sector £1.5bn, and you can see why teaching STEM from an early age is so crucial to the nation’s future economy.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, covering a huge range of topics that come under these subjects. Whilst the majority of career-based knowledge will be learnt during further education and through apprenticeships, it’s essential that students are given the opportunity to grow their passion for STEM from a very young age.
Science and maths are of course taught at primary school already; however, the key is to open up the subjects and create a more exciting environment that will encourage children to develop lifelong curiosity and a thirst for creative problem-solving. This should be combined with incorporating technology and engineering themes into lessons, such as understanding not only how to use digital devices but also the basics of how they work, as well as the role that engineering plays in modern society. If you need a little guidance, below are some tips for making STEM lessons interesting, engaging and memorable.
Focus on exploration
STEM is the backbone of progress, enabling developments in everything from medicine and online communications, to transportation, architecture, media and the energy sector.
Teach transferable skills
Many skills that are vital to STEM will also prove invaluable throughout life. A talent for estimating, calculating, hypothesising and exploring will help a child to become a well-rounded adult, whilst confidence in collaborating and communicating will benefit their social sphere and career progression in equal measure.
Make it fun
The majority of STEM topics are very hands-on and all of them focus on the betterment of humankind. It would be hard not to make these lessons fun, as they focus on ideas and imagination as much as they do on facts and figures.
By highlighting how STEM applies to everyday life, children will gain a greater understanding of its importance and impact. Whether you ask children what they want to do for a living and show how STEM will be involved, to explaining how their video games and favourite movies wouldn’t be around without it, you’re guaranteed to get their attention.
Use a range of resources
In 2018 the government set up the Year of Engineering, which celebrates the branch of science and technology concerned with the design, building and use of engines, machines and structures. The website includes school resources for inspiring children aged 7-16.
How do you get your students excited about STEM? Let us know on your social media channels by tagging in #TeachNorthwest.