Breaking the STEM Myths
Did you know that while women make up around half of the workforce in the United States, they only make up about 27% of workers in STEM-related fields? Part of the reason for this large disparity is that girls are often discouraged to pursue STEM-related fields. The thought that girls aren't cut out for STEM education is just one of the many STEM myths that we as a society need to break.
STEM education is important for all students. Finding ways to engage children in learning about STEM, whether through courses at school, DIY experiments at home, or a STEM monthly subscription such as MEL or KiwiCo, is essential in preparing our children for the future. Continue reading to learn about more STEM myths so you can work to break them and set your children up for success!
What are the misconceptions and myths around STEM education?
Male are Better Suited for STEM Education than Females
Sadly, this is one of the biggest myths around STEM and it stops so many young girls from developing an interest in learning about science, technology, engineering, and math. As we shared above, just 27% of workers in STEM-related fields are women. This is certainly not due to women being less capable, but rather is a result of women being discouraged from STEM at a young age.
In many cases, girls outperform boys on testing. Over the last four decades, the gap in the achievement scores between girls and boys has closed, according to data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
Breaking this myth is essential; girls need to be told from a young age that they too can learn and succeed with STEM. Parents of girls can help break the myth by talking to their daughters about different STEM careers that may interest them, performing fun science experiments as a family, or signing up for a STEM subscription box.
STEM Education is Not Important Unless You Want to Become a Scientist
Despite what you may believe, building future scientists is just one benefit associated with STEM education. Even if children are certain they don't want to pursue a career as a scientist, there are still a number of ways they can benefit from STEM education.
Children learn how to collaborate and work together as they perform different tasks and experiments. This is a skill that can follow and help with any future career. STEM experiments also require critical thinking, and students will develop these skills, which can also be applied in a variety of other settings.
Another huge benefit of STEM education is that children are able to apply their learning to real-world situation. STEM experiments are very hands-on and engaging. This lets children get to experiment with different ideas and see how things work in the real world. Seeing the connection between what they are learning in school and the real world can help students begin to see the importance of learning and paying attention in all subjects.
STEM Education is for Older Children
Many parents, and even educators, may believe that it isn't important to start learning STEM concepts until children are in the upper grades. However, just the opposite is actually true. Beginning STEM education when children are still young is the perfect time to pique their interest and help them start to learn the importance of STEM.
Young children are naturally curious; they want to experiment and see how things work. Setting up STEM experiments for them to participate in will not only be very engaging, but it will allow them to begin making connections to the real-world.
Additionally, when children begin learning STEM concepts from an early age, it will be more likely that they'll want to continue doing so as they get older. This could also increase the chances that they'll want to pursue a STEM-related degree for a future career.
STEM Education is Costly and Requires too Many Materials
STEM education can take place everywhere. It doesn't require the use of expensive materials. There are many ways to allow your child to experiment using materials you already have at your home. Signing up for reasonably priced STEM discovery boxes is another inexpensive way to get your child engaged and excited about STEM.
Why is it so important to break these myths as early as possible for your kids?
Getting children interested in STEM from an early age can deliver a variety of benefits. Children can develop critical thinking skills, learn to collaborate and work as a team, and develop resilience and perseverance. It is important that parents send the message to their children that they can do anything they put their mind to, including engaging in STEM education or pursuing a career in a STEM-related field.
Unfortunately, regardless of the message you send your children, they may still be impacted by these myths. Other students at school or other adults they interact with may still believe in the myths and may send messages, either intentionally or unintentionally, to a child that they can't succeed with STEM. However, if you've done the work at home to expose your child to STEM activities and send them the message that anything is possible, they'll be able to just brush off any criticism and continue on their path to success.
Start Breaking these STEM Myths Today!
Whether you've found yourself you're your child slipping into these myths in the past, it certainly isn't too late to make a change. Start taking steps now to break the myths and help your child, regardless of their age, begin to enjoy all of the benefits of STEM education. One of the best ways to get started today is to choose a DIY STEM afternoon activity. Then, we'd suggest signing your child up for a STEM subscription box. Many companies, such as KiwiCo and MEL Science, offer STEM discovery boxes aimed at a variety of age groups. Imagine the possibilities and opportunities that await your child when you open their eyes to the world of STEM!