Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are hot subjects in today’s classrooms, and for good reason. As our economy increasingly depends on innovation and technological advances, the demand for a STEM-literate workforce continues to grow at a rapid pace.
As an educator, you may be wondering how you can awaken a potential interest in a STEM-related career path. Whether you’re teaching kids virtually or in the classroom, here are seven lesson plan resources that you can use to get them thinking about a potential career in STEM.
Math is the foundation to many high-paying STEM careers. But let’s face it, math can be a little boring. Mathalicious lessons are designed to make math fun and engaging for students by exploring math within the context of the real world, such as shopping and sports. With a clean and intuitive interface, it’s easy to find a great lesson on the site. To find the most engaging lesson for your students, you can search for lessons by keyword (e.g., “probability”) or by topic (e.g., “animals”). And each lesson is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, so teachers can foster a love of math in their students while still meeting requirements.
2. Science Buddies
Started by engineer and entrepreneur Kenneth Hess, Science Buddies is an award-winning website that was originally launched to help parents and teachers support students with their science fair projects. Today, the non-profit organization has evolved its mission to include helping students develop STEM literacy. The site offers personalized learning tools, hands-on activities for students, teacher guides, printable worksheets, guides for science-fair administrators, and much more.
Be sure to have your students check out their Careers in Science page, which includes 160 STEM career profiles. In each career profile, students can see how science is used in real-world careers through Science Buddies project ideas.
STEMfinity is actually an online store that provides STEM kits and educational robotic kits. However, they also have a bunch of free STEM resources for K-12 students that can be helpful for exploring careers and getting students interested in different STEM fields. You can filter their resources by categories, such as Women in STEM (i.e., resources for encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers) and STEM competitions such as Intel ISEF.
4. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) is a goldmine of STEM career lesson plans for teachers. If you go to their eGFI Teachers page (located under the Education & Careers tab), you’ll find a slew of free lesson plans developed by experts, many of which are geared towards standards.
Teachers and students can also use eGFI to explore engineering career options. Students can learn about different types of engineers, what they do, where they work, and even “meet” one by watching a short video of someone in the field. Who knows? It could spark your student’s interest in an engineering degree or an engineering apprenticeship.
5. Spark 101
Developed by educators, employers, and experts, Spark 101 is a free website that brings real-world industry challenges to your classroom. The site features engaging videos, lesson plans, and resources related to STEM problems that educators can incorporate into their own teachings. The videos are short and sweet (less than 10 minutes long), so you can easily fit them into your existing lesson plans. Spark 101 also has a Career Snapshot page that gives 1-minute introductions to exciting STEM fields such as cybersecurity and data analytics. Just make an account and you’ll have access to all of Spark 101’s materials.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is a fantastic resource for teachers who are hoping to spark their students’ interest in STEM careers. On their NASA STEM Engagement page, you can find a slew of fascinating activities and tools that promise to engage students — from taking virtual trips to Mars to building their own Mars Rover. In recent months, they also launched a free distance learning program for educators and students.
The tools and activities offered by STEM-Works makes STEM education more fun for both teachers and their students. On their site, you’ll find interesting information and activities that cover a range of fascinating subjects, including robotics, extreme weather, wind energy, and even video games. Under each subject, students can click on “Cool Jobs” and learn about different career paths that people in the field hold. With STEM-Works, your lessons are guaranteed to be eye-opening and unforgettable.
Building STEM Skills for the Future
STEM workers are changing the world all the time. Perhaps your students will change the world one day, too. As an educator, you have the opportunity to encourage the next generation of innovators to make a difference. With these resources, you can open up their eyes to STEM careers they didn’t even know existed.