Help students in the STEM game - science, technology, engineering, and math

Think Again: I attended a two local middle school science fairs recently, at a private school and public school and learned we need to do more to get youth interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Here is what I found out and how you can help.

04/01/2008


Related reading

Help fill the skills gap; click here to learn how.

Applied to engineering, a lot of old adages are not as addled as they seem, like the one that says, “It's not whether you win or lose; it's how you play the game.”

I attended a two local middle school science fairs recently, at a private school and public school. In my tale of two science fairs, I learned we need to do more to get youth interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), specifically at public schools in seventh and eighth grades.

At the private school, I'd guess that household incomes were two or three times that of those of the public school. I know money and family incomes are not the only influences on educational success. Even so, private school science exhibits seemed of higher quality, and students seemed generally more knowledgeable.

Comparatively, students at the urban public school seemed socio-economically challenged. (Most Illinois public school funding comes from property taxes.) Yet, on the appointed afternoon, the public school gym was full of boisterous seventh and eighth grade students and their projects. Many exhibits were not pretty, elegant, or even scientifically sound. Still, these students were “in the game,” with encouragement from teachers, some parents (not enough), and others who happened by.

A flyer asked onlookers to ask students: Why did you pick this topic? What's the point? What is the variable? What is the control? How was the experiment performed? What were the results? What were three things learned?

People were doing that, and kids responded. Many were even excited, interested, and seemed to want more. Ballots counted and ribbons given for most creative/unique, most important current event, most complex, best of show, and for participation.

I have two observations and two suggestions.

One : The public school teachers and students did valiant work with the resources they had. A lot of spirit and interest were displayed.

Two : Schools, especially public schools, need more help with STEM.

First suggestion : Contact local public junior high school science teachers about how you can help encourage young minds about science and engineering.

Second suggestion : After you see first hand, contact your elected representatives and educate them about your observations of the present level of public school STEM funding.

Be among the growing numbers of success stories. Encourage youth about engineering. Get them in the game.

MHoske@cfemedia.com


Related reading to close the skills gap -Post your suggestions, experiences, and useful links using the comments box below. Ever help out at a science or career fair? Share your experiences.

-The U.S. industrial sector has seen its fair share of changes and challenges during the past several decades. Throughout it all, however, manufacturers have been able to rely on a steady supply of fresh talent — particularly in the engineering sector — to fuel innovation and hone our competitive edge. Read more about how to close the skills gap.

-Search Kids, engineering, fun at Control Engineering .

Education and engineering - related links

Search on “skills gap’’ atop www.controleng.com .

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences, collects and analyzes education data.

Illinois Loop (an informal group of about 200 parents, teachers, school board members and others, mostly in the suburbs around Chicago) provides updates on education news in Illinois.





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
Safety standards and electrical test instruments; Product of the Year winners; Easy and safe electrical design
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Diagnostic functions for system safety; Specifying industrial enclosures; Effective decision support for a crisis
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Natural gas for tomorrow's fleets; Colleges and universities moving to CHP; Power and steam and frozen foods

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me