As the need for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workers continues to increase, educators around the country must prepare their students to meet this demand. Though teaching technical skills such as coding, web design and advanced scientific principals is important, equally so is the development of 21st-century skills that give students the ability to adapt to uncertainty.
One of the ways educators can enable students to excel under these challenging expectations is to instill a sense of confidence in STEM subjects at the middle school level. Read below for three ways you can empower the children in your classroom today!
Learning by doing
Popularized by philosopher and educator John Dewey, one of the most effective ways to build a child’s confidence is to promote hands-on learning within the classroom. This pedagogy requires teachers to transition from the role of instructor to that of a facilitator. While the benefits of this type of active education have long been promoted, applying this style of learning to the study of STEM subjects is especially helpful. In stark contrast to passive forms of knowledge acquisition, allowing students to instead start and complete self-directed projects that explore these same fields gives these young innovators a sense of pride and responsibility for their work.
Promoting financial literacy
Though essential to living a successful adult life, the basics of financial literacy are unfortunately rarely taught in schools. The result of these policy decisions is staggering, as U.S. households on average are $135,065 in debt, and collectively owe a record $423.8 billion in credit card debt. Paired with the reality that wages have failed to keep pace with inflation, these facts mean that today’s students must prepare themselves to make smart financial decisions to avoid falling behind. Teaching practical financial advice to your students either in a classroom setting or through an outside program can go a long way in helping them gain the knowledge and confidence to manage their finances.
Our nation’s greatest innovators understand that coming up with an idea is only the first of many steps. To make the greatest difference, a patent is needed both to protect these ideas and to market them, ultimately making a difference in people’s lives around the world. While educators and policymakers alike have promoted the importance of STEM education in recent years, many programs and curricula fail to adequately cover intellectual property and the marketing of ideas and products. By exploring these themes in your classroom, your students will begin to see the relevance of what they’re learning.
Learn more about how we empower students around the country
Part of our mission at the National Inventors Hall of Fame® is to inspire the next generation by encouraging them to realize their innovative potential. As one of our many education programs, Invention Project® specializes in this empowerment for middle school-aged students. To learn more, we invite you to visit our website.