Updated: Apr 4
Audience: Middle and High School students
By: Ivan Peteh
When it comes to subjects in school, we all have our strong suits and preferences. What we enjoy learning about and what we are forced to learn about are oftentimes two completely different things. Many people who feel as though they are only good at certain subjects tend to mainly focus on and improve on those academic areas.
Take yourself, for instance: do you enjoy watching fizzing reactions or learning about imaginary numbers in math, always knowing there is a definite answer to a problem? Do you find joy in speaking a foreign language with your peers or travelling back in time to learn about the history of humans and the world?
Regardless of the subjects you enjoy in school and what career path you choose, STEM-based curriculum such as science and mathematics can help improve your life as a whole.
A child learning the basics of coding in elementary school. Image by Robo Wunderkind from Unsplash.
You who may be thinking—why STEM? The National Science Foundation explains it best: “In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important... To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.” In essence, STEM is becoming a larger part of our everyday lives, economy, and society as a whole. Focusing on and devoting more time to STEM will give you an advantage and prepare you for the new expected changes in our modern society.
While our society is progressively changing and becoming more science and technology oriented, that is not the only reason to emphasize the importance of STEM. STEM also improves and increases scientific literacy (the understanding of scientific concepts and processes, along with the ability to communicate this to others), promotes critical thinking, and inspires a younger generation full of more innovators than ever before. This makes it clear that STEM can help you regardless of the field of study you decide to pursue. Being a critical thinker and an innovator is essential in any career, and such traits are always welcomed and highly useful.
Young girl showing her model of Human Anatomy. Picture by Jeswin Thomas from Unsplash.
While STEM education has various personal benefits, it also helps bridge the ethnic and gender gaps that are often present in math and science fields. STEM-based education is predicted to expand at a rate of 17.8%, while non-STEM related fields are only expected to grow at a rate of 9.8%, according to the US Department of Commerce. By increasing the use of STEM in everyday education, ethic and gender stereotypes are being diminished and a new norm is beginning to form. As our society is increasingly incorporating STEM into our everyday lives, it is essential that we abolish these stereotypes, such as only people of Asian descent can do math, or women can’t work as well in STEM fields, in order to create a newer and better society... one where everyone belongs.
Kids, Posted By Engineering For. “Why Is STEM Education So Important?” Engineering For Kids, 2 Feb. 2016, www.engineeringforkids.com/about/news/2016/february/why-is-stem-education-so-important-/#:~:text=STEM%20education%20creates%20critical%20thinkers,base%20in%20the%20STEM%20areas.
“National Science Foundation - Where Discoveries Begin.” NSF - National Science Foundation, web.archive.org/web/20171013181600/www.nsf.gov/.
Writers, Staff. “What Is STEM and Why Is It Important?: BestColleges.” BestColleges.com, BestColleges.com, 31 July 2020, www.bestcolleges.com/blog/what-is-stem/. “Performance Data.” U.S. Department of Commerce, www.commerce.gov/.
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