Focus Areas

STEM: Four subjects for success

“STEM” stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education.

STEM A PRIORITY FOR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

stem_chemistry_websiteBeing knowledgeable in these areas is highly important for student success in school and in adult life. Everyone needs to be able to do practical math in daily life, to interact with computers and other technology, and to use logical reasoning and problem-solving. California and the United States lag behind other nations in graduating young adults who are proficient in STEM subjects.

Career opportunities in these fields are plentiful, often without an adequate supply of qualified applicants coming out of our education system.

California State PTA took particular interest in STEM education with the 2011 passage of the resolution “Science, Technology, Engineering And Mathematics (STEM) Education” resolution and PTA has advocated for bills and policies related to STEM education many times since.

Families Are an Important Part of the STEM Equation

New research from National PTA emphasizes the essential role of family engagement in increasing students’ access to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math — especially among girls and underrepresented youth. Click the links below for easy activity ideas that will help engage families in STEM, as featured at the 2017 PTA Convention.

Make it count!

Today, the fastest growing job sectors are related to science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) and 60 percent of college majors require a math background.

In our technology-rich world, acquiring strong STEAM skills matters more than ever for college and career readiness.

In elementary school, students start to develop confidence in their ability to do the basics of math and science. They also begin to learn more about visual and performing art techniques and how technology and engineering work.

As studies show, with steady encouragement, learning and practice, parents can help children excel in these subjects from preschool to college.

Five Tips for Parents

  • Make It Real – Connect math and science to the real world in your everyday activities as a family. When you go to a store, bank or restaurant, talk about how math is used on bills, deposit slips, menus or for tipping. At the park or beach, observe wildlife and plants, let your child draw what he orshe sees and go online at home to discover even more.
  • Play Games – Encourage your child to play with puzzles and games that involve decision-making or strategy to build reasoning skills. Card games like “Go Fish” teach children to count, sort and use strategy. Games like Scrabble involve spelling and math. Playing games in the car that estimate distance or listening to music, audio books and podcasts help grow STEAM skills.
  • Feed Curiosity – Borrow science, technology, art and math books and materials from the library and explore these topics online. Visit science museums, zoos, aquariums, theaters and state parks to discover what excites and interests your child. Talk with teachers about your child’s studies to find out ways to reinforce STEAM skills at home.
  • Encourage Discovery – Teach children how to find information and encourage them to solve science and math problems on their own. As a child tries to solve a problem, ask helpful questions and let him/her take time to find out how to do it. Learning how to find answers helps to develop critical thinking.
  • Expand Horizons – While young children may want to be doctors or firefighters, widen their awareness of other interesting careers. Pilots, mechanics, software engineers, forest rangers, video-game developers and biologists, for instance, are all jobs requiring STEAM skills. Go online together to explore the range of career options available with a foundation in STEAM.

Making STEAM learning an everyday part of family life promotes student achievement.

Encourage your PTA or school to host activities such as career days, science fairs, math competitions, arts festivals and robotics clubs. That way, students will learn more about STEAM and how their interests can connect with career goals in these fields.

Check out fun, hands-on STEAM activities at www.pbskids.org.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES