How “I Want to Be an Inventor” and other Things Kids Say Can Help You Guide their STEM Learning
Many new technologies have changed the world over the last 30-40 years. The Internet was one. Smartphones, cloud storage, social networking, computer simulations, and graphing calculators are only a few others.
But despite those changes, elementary-school kids still make some of the classic statements about their dreams that they were making 30, 40 or more years ago. From a practical perspective, the following statements offer educators opportunities to capitalize on student interests and direct them to STEM studies that align with their goals.
“I want to be an inventor”
An elementary student who says this is voicing interest in using technology to solve practical, real-world problems. In other words, engineering. So a student who says “I want to be an inventor” might one day become an electrical, chemical or mechanical engineer. To support those possible goals, encourage enrollment in appropriate STEM courses, as well as participation in robotics clubs and other appropriate extracurriculars.
“I want to be an archaeologist”
A student who says this could be voicing interest in a number of fields that include anthropology, ancient history, world cultures, world religions, art history, travel, and even architecture. To support those possible goals, encourage enrollment in appropriate courses and extracurricular activities.
“I want to be a paleontologist”
A student who says this is expressing an interest in biology, zoology, aquarium and zoo science, and possibly veterinary science too. To support those possible goals, encourage the student to engage fully in your school’s science curriculum and to take part in clubs, internships and summer jobs.
“I want to be an astronaut”
A student who says this is expressing interest in aerospace studies, astronomy, earth science, engineering, computer science, and other exciting fields. Encourage this student by making sure he or she engages fully in your school’s science curriculum and extracurricular activities.
Educators Help Student Build on their Dreams
Be sure to notice when one of your students makes one of the statements we highlight above. Students have been saying those things for decades, true. But when they say them today, they are really saying, “I am interested in STEM learning.”
We Invite You to Explore All Your Career and College Options. . .
Participate in the National Career & College Pathway Study to gain new insights about making educational decisions that align with your interests, passions, and aptitudes.
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I appreciate the idea that kids being interested in being an inventor or an astronaut could lead to interest in STEM careers like engineers or scientists. My son loves the idea of inventing things someday. Maybe helping him get involved in different fields right now could help him develop that interest and learn what he enjoys doing.
STEM Education is really important for every kid. I think parents should encourage their kids to STEM. As STEM education is a good source to learn new things and implement them through STEM activities.
I like how you mentioned that STEM can help students have a more in-depth view of their role in the world. My sister is a 5th-grade teacher and she was telling me last night about how she was thinking about having her students learn more about STEM. I’ll make sure to pass this information along to her so she can know more about the benefits of students learning it!