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.”
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