What can schools do to increase interest in science, technology, engineering, and math?

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Danielle Maurer (not verified)

STEM subjects, like

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STEM subjects, like everything else in schools right now, are only taught in relation to improving standardized test scores. Policies such as NCLB and an irrational focus on high stakes testing must be reversed in order for teachers to be able to teach in ways that will engage and excite students. Using the environment as an integrating concept has been shown to be effective in this area. Other strategies that have been successful include place-based learning, problem-based learning, and using TV shows or movies which are based on real science and that children love as a starting theme. However, policymakers must understand that these sorts of programs take more time and are not as efficient as teaching students to do well on multiple guess tests. And they are well worth that time because they foster deep learning and understanding and a true love of the discipline.
Janet Schoettle (not verified)

Schools can increase

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Schools can increase interest and participation in science, math and engineering by sponsoring a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) team. It's been very effective in introducing students to career options and increasing their enrollment in pertinent courses. Highlights from the ASME/FIRST study include the following: * FIRST participants were nearly twice as likely to major in science or engineering than the comparison students (55% vs. 28%) * FIRST participants were more than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering (41% vs. 13%) than the comparison students, and they majored in engineering at roughly seven times the average among US college students overall. * FIRST participants were significantly more likely to aspire to a post-graduate degree -- Master's or higher (77% vs. 63%) * FIRST participants were more than twice as likely to expect to have a science or technology-related career after college (45% vs. 20%) * FIRST participants were more than twice as likely to have participated in some form of community service in the past year (71% vs. 30%) * FIRST participants were significantly more likely to think it was important to "be a leader in their community" (44% vs. 29%)" FIRST offers real, exciting answers. Here is information on how to start a FIRST Team.
John Taylor (not verified)

Increase science support and

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Increase science support and training in the elementary levels. This would include training for elementary teachers to help them develop competencies and confidence, as well as training in conducting both inquiry and non-inquiry experiences with their children. Support the student training into high school and require multiple years of science courses until a culture can develop of science literate adults.
Chuck Fellows (not verified)

Integrate science into all

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Integrate science into all academic disciplines and teach them with the energy and edge of the most popular video games, including the concept of multiplayer projects and performances.
robin depietro (not verified)

Science should not be

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Science should not be treated as some mystical subject that can only a select few can understand. Children and teachers need to encouraged to be inquisitive. Teachers need to be allowed to show their enthusiasm for the subject without the constrainsts of tests and other things that take away from class time. Technology needs to be made available to all students.
D. Sjoberg (not verified)

It's hard to get students

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It's hard to get students motivated in overpopulated science classes (35-40), sometimes placed in rooms that are not meant for a lab class (no safety equipment or running water), without adequate equipment, and short periods such as 45 minutes!
Patti Rimland (not verified)

Thank you Janet Shoettle for

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Thank you Janet Shoettle for "doing the math" and putting the statistics out there about the positive influence of FIRST robotics! Over the summer I participated in an Introduction to Robotics workshop (for educators) at NASA Ames. During the 3-day period I saw many young students (8th grade to undergraduate college level) present their robotics projects and talk about their experiences. And, we were given tours of the AMES facility. We talked to staff (recent BS grads) and interns (undergraduates) who were conducting research and designing the next generation of robotics for space applications. The vast majority of these students (75-80%) had participated in robotics competitions (mostly FIRST) to spark their interest in engineering and robotics. Some students naturally gravitate towards math and science. But some students need the draw of something exciting like robotics to get them to "do the math."
Bob Kochmann (not verified)

It is not just a school

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It is not just a school issue. It is a societal issue, stemming from too much time spent on things that distract from education as we have developed it. This is a deeply ingrained issue...students that were not well trained or did not focus on math and science, avoided it as was allowed, are now preparing our elementary students as their teachers. Where was the accountability when they pepared for the classroom? I have heard more than once that my child is not good at math becuase I was not good at it. What a message to send to your child. Encourage them to be all that they can, not let them off with what was a problem for you. Have some expectations for your child, demand some performance. It seems it always comes back to the schools providing the stimulus. It is but one of the factors to promote llliteracy, expectations from home are the greatest influence. There is a whole lot more to say in this epiphany, but please, put the responsibility where it belongs.
Bruce Gottwig (not verified)

I think it is important for

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I think it is important for teachers to encourage success of all students in science, math and other technology courses. Success tends to breed sucess and might make the difference on whether a student might continue on in math and science. Too often we teachers find ourselves only encouraging the highest achieving students while ignoring those who score near the bottom of the class. The high achievers don't need extra motivation they already have it. Those students who seem to continually score near the bottom of the class are the one's the teacher should concentrate their effort.
John Carpenter (not verified)

From observation of middle

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From observation of middle school and high school students, I offer the following: 1. Get students involved early, in classes, projects, and extracurriculars. I have seen a lot of success with the Science Olympiad program. The middle school teams become the 'farm team' for the high school. It's exciting. Students of all skill levels and both genders participate. Our middle schools organize a Science Olympiad week, where everyone in the school participates, on homeroom teams. The school "varsity" SO team are the coaches and judges - great peer role modeling! It's great to see so many girls get involved, enjoy it, and discover they like science and are good at it. 2. Choose high school science teachers carefully. They are the first science role models that most students encounter. In our high school several years ago, there were a half-dozen female science teachers, but several of these were negative role models - the girls didn't want to become the stodgy, pedantic, frumpy women that they saw as the only women in science. So, most of the girls who discovered science in middle school then backed away from it in high school. Study of science is the key to understanding why the world works as it does -- teachers need to convey that excitement and inquiry - it's as important a job skill as is mastery of the subject matter. Remember, Bloom's Taxonomy has an affective as well as a cognitive domain, and without the values and positive attitudes, the students will avoid the subject matter. So - two keys to success: Start early with an engaging program, and choose high school science teachers carefully.
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