More and more, emphasis is being put on science, technology, engineering and math or STEM for schools. In Canada, fields relating to science and technology are becoming increasingly relevant, economically and in our day-to-day lives.

STEM plays a key role in youth in that it builds skills that will help them in their future careers and their lives in general. It cultivates the ability to ask questions, to think creatively and also scientifically, to view things from an analytical perspective, to test ideas, and to problem-solve. When students are able to solve challenges and interesting problems, they gain confidence in their abilities and it encourages them to explore more in science or math class.

The careers of the future are already starting to change. Less jobs are calling for menial labour, and more are asking for people with a background in STEM. Fields such as medicine, engineering and technology are all growing, and will soon need more relevantly trained individuals. Even if students are not interested in fields directly related to STEM subjects, the multidisciplinary aspect of STEM lets youth to apply their skills in new areas they did not even think was possible. Starting STEM in schools early helps children be prepared for the world they will go into.

STEM for Schools: Skills for success

STEM skills help students be prepared for their future in the workplace, and that workplace does not have to be in a STEM field, necessarily. Even if a student is not as interested in science as another subject, it is important to know that science can be a multidisciplinary subject: for example, students can be shown that something as benign as how an instrument makes music is actually caused by the physics of sound.

Science also helps students develop their literacy skills. They need to be able to read, understand and perform instructions, in addition to being able to communicate ideas and findings they may have discovered during experiments. Stem for schools helps with numeracy skills as well: sorting, counting estimating, measuring and graphing data and numbers are often skills students need to have when doing science. More skills that can be nurtured with science are general and technical skills, like inquiry skills, thinking critically and scientifically, and finer activities like measuring precise amounts of liquids in chemistry class.

Providing STEM for schools gives students an advantage in the real world. They will be prepared for the challenges they will face in the workplace, no matter where that may be. Students who learn with the STEM approach will be able to one day help solve large issues we’ll be faced with, such as the water and food shortages the world will encounter as the population grows and resources shrink.  When tech needs to advance to meet our needs, the STEM mindset will help our future engineers and scientists to come up with ingenious solutions to our problems. For this to occur, the proper foundations need to be created while the student is younger and can be influenced positively by their teachers and classmates to be interested in math, science, and the world around us.