Family Engagement in STEM

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

Families are Key to Student Success

As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher. Families are the links to enrichment opportunities, as well as influences on students’ perceptions of what is possible for their future. That’s why parents and caregivers are key partners for teachers and schools to engage in the development and expansion of STEM learning and access.

STEM Offers Vast Career Possibilities for Students

STEM careers in the United States are growing twice as fast as other fields but economic projections predict that there could be as many as 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs by 2018. To meet the rapidly-growing demand for qualified STEM professionals and develop the next generation of leaders, we must help students build the necessary competencies and skills to pursue STEM degrees and career opportunities.

Most people think of civil engineers, doctors, accountants or scientists when they think of STEM careers–all professions that require at least a four-year degree. But there are a vast array of other careers in STEM, and approximately half of those STEM jobs only require a two-year degree.

Simple Ways to Support Students in STEM

You don’t need to be an engineer, doctor, or scientist to support your child’s exploration of STEM learning. You can help support your child’s interest in STEM education by simply:

  • Setting clear and high expectations of student performance
  • Creating supportive learning environments at home
  • Asking questions that help to guide the exploration of courses students need to pursue STEM career pathways

Check out these additional opportunities to explore STEM learning at home:

Making Science Make Sense

  • Ask your teacher how technology is used in the classroom and inquire about ways you can use this tech at home. Spend time online together and have The Smart Talk
  • Build something with your innovative student and describe how it is like engineering. Connect your kids to all types of engineers you know so they understand the vast array of career possibilities – environmental, mechanical, chemical, industrial, technological, biomedical – just to name a few!
  • Show the everyday ways you use math in life and practice math concepts. National PTA and Mathnasium have guides for parents to get started.
  • Stay engaged. Take the pledge to be a STEM + Families Champion to receive alerts and updates about new STEM resources for families.

Interactive Periodic Table of the Elements

Interactive Table of Elements

Visit Bayer's Making Science Make Sense® website for an interactive Periodic Table of the Elements.

Mathnasium Math Tips

Grab these two resources from Mathnasium for grades K-5 and grades 6 & up.


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