Giving Compass' Take:

• A barrier for many STEM educators is finding enough time to teach science topics, but families can help increase STEM engagement for students. 

• How can parents encourage their children to pursue STEM careers, and what are the benefits? 

• Check out the Giving Compass STEM Learning Guide for donors.


Ms. Moak’s goal is to ignite a similar passion in her students so that they can see the magic of STEM in their everyday lives—and thereby be motivated to pursue a job in a STEM field.

However, like many teachers across the country, she faces a serious obstacle to accomplishing her goal.

Time.

Ms. Moak’s schedule only allows for science two and a half hours per week. “In addition to time constraints, we’re limited in how much homework we can assign,” she recently told me. “We have to allot most of the time to math.”

Ms. Moak is not alone. Many teachers struggle giving science instruction its due. In fact, the 2018 National Study of Science and Mathematics Education reported that many elementary school teachers do not even provide science instruction every week. According to the National Science Teachers Association Position Statement, “Elementary science instruction often takes a back seat to math and reading and receives little time in the school day.”

I spoke with experts who talked about the importance of increasing exposure to STEM, but who also spoke about a surprising, untapped resource for both inspiring kids and compensating for lost time in the classroom.

If STEM is so important, how can we give students more exposure to it?

I was surprised to learn from Linda Kekelis, an education researcher and advisor for the STEM NEXT Opportunity Fund, that parents are one of the biggest influences on kids’ interest and persistence in STEM. Parents can not only spark a new interest in STEM, they can also encourage their kids to pursue a pathway to a related career.

Read the full article about how families can help create more time for STEM learning by Elisabeth Stock at EdSurge.