We owe our modern world to the STEM disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
So why did 2.4 million STEM jobs go unfilled in 2018?
The answer may lie in our education system. It seems schools aren't doing enough to encourage interest in STEM fields, which leads to a skills deficit that could slow down our rate of scientific development. It's time to get STEM back into the classroom.
Let's take a look at 5 awesome STEM projects for high schoolers.
1. Plant Growing:
Eco concerns stand at the forefront of our scientific future.
In a world where urban children are ever more removed from nature, the simple act of growing plants can reconnect them with the science of ecology.
Growing plants can teach children biology, ecology, evolution, and related topics like the water cycle. It's an easy classroom activity that all can share, with tangible results.
2. Mechanized LEGO:
LEGO is one of the best gizmos for teaching engineering. Motorized LEGO projects combine the fun of building with LEGO and the realities of applied engineering.
A motorized project will force kids to engage their engineering brains for design and problem-solving. They'll need to understand the importance of prototyping and testing in engineering.
At the end of it, they'll have a project they've carried out from beginning to end.
Kids love a little destruction! Building a working catapult is one of the classic STEM activities for high school to teach kids mathematics, engineering, and physics.
A simple catapult is actually a complex lesson in physics. It teaches the principles of stored energy and structural engineering, and how a physical process can transfer energy.
As with motorized LEGO, it also teaches the importance of conceptualization in engineering, from sketching out plans to building prototypes.
4. Video Game Physics:
Nearly every American child now plays video games. They've become an entrenched part of our entertainment culture. And teachers have known for many years that one of the best ways to get children to engage is to make learning fun.
Video game physics can demonstrate how math can describe our real world. With the right equations, we can reproduce real-world physics in a virtual space, which shows off the raw power of mathematics.
Combined with math acceleration programs (see these Kumon reviews), this sort of applied mathematics can transform a child's learning.
5. Buying on a Budget:
Kids occasionally repeat the adult claim that the math you learn in school is something you'll "never use". Flip the script by teaching them something they'll definitely use.
You can combine this with other projects on the list or one of your own choosing. Give the kids a budget and have them put together a list of materials.
It'll teach them the value of budgeting, including the ability to make sacrifices to maintain a budget.
STEM Projects for High Schoolers:
STEM fields don't have to be intimidating.
With these 5 awesome STEM projects, you can introduce high schoolers to STEM in a fun and engaging way — planting the seeds for the next generation of STEM-qualified workers.
Looking for more insight into education? Check out our education section here.