There’s a lot of talk about the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning areas. They are critical to jobs in the future, but there’s a lot you can do to help your teenager become a STEM master. Here are some useful tips:
Like any subject area, having a positive attitude to STEM will make a big difference to your teen’s learning. If you hear your teenager say ‘I’m no good at maths’, help them to remember the areas they have become good at—and praise the effort they made at that time: ‘Do you remember how you struggled with your times tables in primary school? Then you worked hard and mastered them! I’m sure you can do the same with algebra.’
Show the relevance
It also helps if your teen sees that studying STEM areas is useful (and can be fun!). STEM subjects are not just about numbers, theories and formulas, they also develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that are useful in all areas of life. If your teen is passionate about environmental issues, for example, they can use science to understand causes and effects, and build persuasive arguments for change: ‘I never realised how important it was to do that until you explained the science behind it.’
Your teen can pick up a lot of STEM learning without even realising it. Do they love reading science fiction, or books about tanks? Great, they’re connecting with science and technology. Do they play computer games where they have to create bridges, or entire worlds? Excellent, they’re using physics and engineering concepts. Do they watch TV programmes about scientific myths or archaeology or space exploration? Fantastic, those are rich in STEM too.
There are lots of occupations and even recreational activities that require STEM skills and knowledge. STEM can put your child on the path to become a pilot, a broadcasting technician, a farmer or a career that hasn’t even been thought of yet! Use the career resources below to help your teenager explore some of the areas they are interested in, and see where STEM can take them.