Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes are now integral components of students’ educations. Increasingly students are drawn to STEM education, including pursuing STEM pathways in high school, because of the doors such an education can open in the future.
According to the United States Department of Labor, there were nearly 10 million workers in STEM occupations in 2021, and this total is projected to grow by almost 11 per cent by 2031 — roughly two times faster than the total for all occupations.
STEM subjects may not come so easily for some students, who at times may feel disengaged from the coursework. That doesn’t mean students should give up. Even if STEM classes do not come easily, one still could have what it takes to be involved in science or engineering, and eventually land STEM jobs. Here are ways to mold great STEM students.
Recognize that STEM is more exacting: Unlike other classes in liberal arts education that are highly subjective, STEM involves answers that are exact. There is no wiggle room for subjectivity, so students must get in the habit of checking their work and ensuring their answers are correct. Students may need some assistance from tutors or parents to recognize common mistakes and learn how to proof their work. This fosters a greater attention to detail.
Show the work: Teachers often require students to show the computation involved in reaching a mathematical conclusion, or the reasoning behind how an answer is derived. While the answer may be correct, points may be deducted for not showing the work. Students should make it a habit to be transparent with their calculations so educators can point out where they were right and where they went wrong.
Recognize your own scientific tendencies: Those who are science-minded tend to make good observations, base claims on evidence, express curiosity, and make connections between complex ideas. Some students may not think they are intellectual enough to be involved with STEM, but after recognizing these traits in themselves, they may find they have more in common with great scientists than they first imagined.
Maintain good notes: Get the most out of courses by taking excellent notes, as the best instruction often comes from lectures and class time. Review notes regularly and practice work frequently.
Have a study buddy: Studying with someone else can be helpful with STEM coursework A study buddy can be a fellow classmate, a parent, a friend, or anyone else to bounce ideas off of. Others view problems differently and may see something a student is missing, or be able to explain it more readily. .
See failure as a motivating force: Only by failing can STEM students dissect missteps and improve work to get to more concrete conclusions. While it initially may not seem enjoyable to fail, it does present opportunity to do things differently the next time. Failure usually lights a fire to get students to work harder and fulfill their potential.
STEM classes can be quite challenging and not every student takes to them immediately. But with a little work and support, students can improve their performance in STEM subjects.