Do you teach physics? If so, you will want to know about research from the Student Research Foundation that found that nearly every kind of student likes the subject you teach. That might come as a surprise – what is physics, after all but the study of energy and matter? How exciting is that? But somehow students have discovered that physics is not only interesting, but it will also prepare them for a variety of college majors and STEM careers.
Students who want to pursue all STEM careers gravitate to physics. So do students who want to become chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineers. And the list goes on from there, to include architects, production and product designers, and even acousticians and recording engineers.
But our research, which you will want to share with your students, also shows that physics appeals to students who fit into a lot of different classes and categories. It isn’t just for male students, or students who come from any one background. It could just be the great equalizer – possibly more so than math or chemistry.
Some Highlights of Our Research
Who are “physics fans”?
- 5% of all students, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or race, identify physics as a “favorite subject”
- 57% of male physics fans, and 72% of young women, see themselves as “curious”
- 37% of male physics fans, and 66% of female, see themselves as “creative”
- 38% of male physics fans, and 8% of female, are gamers
- 29% of male physics fans, and 14% of female, see themselves as “analytical”
- 17% of male physics fans, and 5% of female, are interested in becoming engineers
Which Groups of Physics Fans Are Aspiring to STEM Careers?
- 63% of all male students who are physics fans aspire to STEM careers, compared with 23% of females
- 53% of Asian physics fans aspire to STEM careers
- 46% if White physics fans aspire to STEM careers
- 37% of Asian physics fans aspire to STEM careers
- 27% of African-American physics fans aspire to STEM careers
How to Help Students Blaze a Path from Physics to Careers
- Connect the dots by talking about careers that will be good choices for your physics fans
- Invite engineers, architects, and other professionals who use physics in their work to visit your classroom and present to your students
- Connect your physics students to summer internships and intensive summer programs that help them discover the many ways physics is used in the real world
Are You a Physics-Loving Teacher? Get Involved in Our Research!
You can start out by spending some time with High School Physics Fans, an infographic from the Student Research Foundation, prepared jointly with the American Association of Physics Teachers. Share it with your students too.
We Invite You to Explore Your Students’ College & Career Options with Us . . .
Students who participate in the National Career & College Pathway Study will gain new insights about making educational decisions that align with their interests, passions, and aptitudes. Participants will receive information on college and career opportunities that match their interests.
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