By: Beth Meyer, Vice President of Partner Success at Discovery Education
The evidence is clear ? the number of STEM jobs are growing, but not equally.
Insight from Pew Research Center finds that the STEM workforce outpaced all other U.S. job sectors, growing by over 79% since 1990. But while the number of STEM jobs have grown, not everyone is able to access a career in STEM. The COVID-19 global pandemic starkly illuminates not only the growing impact of STEM careers, but also concerning diversity disparities. As engineers churn out new masks and respirators and technology professionals expand contact tracing, we continue to see few of these types of jobs held by women. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up only 28% of science and engineering workforce.
The gap is also evident in healthcare. While women are still heavily represented in key healthcare roles ? making up 90% of the nursing population ? according to The New York Times, they are severely underrepresented in all other health-related STEM fields, including higher paying careers. Women occupy only about 30% C-suite jobs in the healthcare sector.
The longer-term impacts of these inequalities show up in times of crisis. United Nations Women reports that women and girls specifically have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. Inequalities experienced from the gender pay gap intensify during times of economic strife and girls experience increased burdens from home, impeding access to education.
With these challenges top-of-mind, solutions to increasing the number of women that move into STEM fields is paramount. Recent findings from the Girl Scouts Research Institute shows that girls who engage in STEM activities, like those offered from the Girl Scouts, are nearly twice as likely to want to have a job in STEM. Not only that, these kids are stronger leaders with excellent grades, intend to graduate college, and feel hopeful and fueled to pursue a STEM future.
The barrier? Representation. Girls know they have what it takes! To do that, girls need to see people like them in STEM. Intervention is key to maintaining this interest as girls move into middle and high school; and everyone ? teachers, parents, and community members ? can contribute to this effort. Exposure to women in STEM careers and spotlighting the ways in which STEM careers serve humanity contributes to maintaining and expanding girls? enthusiasm through growing interest, confidence, competence, and value.
Girls Get STEM: Unleash Your Inner Scientist from Girl Scouts of the USA and Discovery Education helps set a new trend in STEM by cultivating girls? early interest in STEM and associated careers. The no-cost, standards-aligned curriculum for all students in grades K-5 provides educators, families, and troop leaders what they need to spark girls? interest in STEM and help them unleash their potential.
The resources encourage creativity, collaboration, innovation, and problem solving in the wide world of STEM by engaging girls through digital student and family activities. From space science and engineering to cyber security and internet identity, these resources unleash students? inner scientist in the digital classroom and beyond. Students can also explore a Virtual Field Trip that specifically highlights girls that are interested in STEM and women excelling in STEM careers.
The results of engaging girls in STEM are real. Through Girls Get STEM and Girl Scouts programs, Girl Scouts are more likely than non?Girl Scout girls to have sustained interested in STEM fields and tech careers: 72% of Girl Scouts are interested in STEM fields versus 60% of non-scouts.
As the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates, jobs in the cyber security, science, technology, engineering, and math fields prove essential. Amplifying girl?s interest in STEM means girls seeing people like them in sectors and careers while building a lasting set of strong skills. Those STEM skills must be fueled by empowered girls in order to grow a stable and secure world for everyone.
That?s why Girls Get STEM: Unleash Your Inner Scientist provides so much impact. The program gives girls the training, mentoring, and hands-on experiences to help them understand the value of STEM to society and the options for their own related career paths. As astronaut and physicist Sally Ride said, ?Young girls need to see role models in whatever careers they may choose, just so they can picture themselves doing those jobs someday. You can?t be what you can?t see.?Read More
A cross-curricular approach to learning is an effective way to introduce students to multiple subjects and help them build critical thinking skills.
An effective cross-curricular learning activity will have students apply various skills while also learning about real-world applications. TGR EDU: Explore, a program from TGR Foundation and Discovery Education, offers free trans-disciplinary resources to teachers.
Teachers, consider the following example lessons and take note of how each makes a connection between students, careers and the world. Use these (or similar) activities to maintain instruction through a trans-disciplinary approach.
Life Science, Mathematics and STEM
Lesson: Entomology Explorations
Students will walk through the classification and collection of insects, where life science and STEM both play a role. Your class will learn about citizen science projects and experience how they can be powerful tools in helping scientists and entomologists answer important questions revolving insect populations around the world.
How does this connect to?
English Language Arts, Life Science and STEM
Lesson: Magnetic Migration
In a lesson that incorporates English Language Arts, Life Science and STEM, Magnetic Migration has students work together to investigate the claim that animals use Earth?s magnetic field to navigate.
How does this connect to?
College and career readiness through cross-curricular instruction
While COVID-19 has changed instruction for school districts nationwide, the importance of college and career readiness remains. Designed to support students in preparing for college and the workforce, TGR EDU: Explore equips teachers with digital resources at no-cost. I implore you to use these, and any other resources at your disposal to help students develop problem-solving and decision-making skills with real-world applications.
It?s rare that a college or career path would be siloed to one subject area ? so why do it in the classroom? Take a chance on trans-disciplinary instruction, your students will thank you!
Find additional college and career readiness resources on the TGR EDU: Explore Channel in Discovery Education Experience!Read More
If students can?t see it, they can?t be it! Exposing students to a wide variety of industries and career paths is key to expanding their interest in STEM careers. In partnership with Freeport-McMoRan, Dig Into Mining provides students with a deeper understand of the mining industry overall, and new career profiles give students the opportunity to discover how professionals in the industry are solving real-world problems.
Each profile includes a video highlighting a Freeport-McMoran professional in their work environment, along with an accompanying career guide that will give students a more in-depth perspective on the role. With these easy-to-access resources, students can learn more about everything from salary range and job outlook, to required education and training.
Metallurgists supervise a team through a complex process of metallurgic testing, analysis and extraction of metals for commercial use. This may include the review of testing equipment and protocols to ensure the team is using the most efficient process. Rebecca notes in the video that she has always enjoyed seeing how things work and understanding the chemistry of things, leading her to discover her passion in chemical engineering.
Mechanical Engineers are hands-on problem solvers who make sure that equipment and processes run smoothly at the mill. Ceci works to identify why necessary equipment is not working properly, and decides the best course of action and proper tools for repair. Her flexibility and tenacity have been key to her success, especially in helping her build productive relationships with her co-workers.
A natural problem-solver, Travis uses computer science skills to build visualizations of data that help his team to decipher the story being told by the information and complex sets of numbers. Computer and information technology occupations, like data science, are growing rapidly?much faster than the national average for all occupations. The annual median income for these jobs is also higher than the median for all occupations.
In addition to the new career profiles, Dig Into Mining offers a number of interactive resources for educators and families designed to give students a front row seat to nature?s geological wonders and inspire further exploration of the world around them. Discover more at DigIntoMining.com!Read More
Digital Tools for Families Grow Students? Confidence to Say ?NO? to Underage Drinking
Parents are the leading influence on their kid?s decision to drink ? or not to drink ? alcohol. As summer approaches, educators can support parents with a diverse array of digital resources now available from Ask, Listen, Learn and Discovery Education to initiate conversations that help students say ?YES? to a healthy lifestyle and ?NO? to underage drinking.
In partnership with Discovery Education, Ask, Listen, Learn provides digital resources for communities to learn about the impacts of alcohol on the developing brain. Encouraging informative and engaging conversations ? both inside and outside of the classroom ? is key to teaching kids the importance of saying ?NO? to underage drinking.
Parents and guardians have the unique power to influence their kids? decisions about underage drinking. The following resources from Ask, Listen, Learn in partnership with Discovery Education offer support for starting the conversation:
Providing students with real-world content that supports the development of the whole student is critically important. These dynamic, science-based virtual learning resources foster healthy decision making, while also supporting STEM education. Learn more and share Ask, Listen, Learn resources on through Discovery Education Experience or by visiting DiscoverBrainBodyBehavior.com.Read More
Read on to learn why 4th grade educator Christi Vereckey, M.Ed., NBCT recommends Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids becomes a cornerstone of elementary school education.
My students (and even my own children!) think unlimited money lives behind debit and credit cards. I often ask myself: as a teacher, how can I ensure our kids grow up to be financially literate? The answer lies in elementary school education.
Designed for students in Grades K-6, Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids highlights basic principles of financial literacy in ways younger students can understand and relate to, while most importantly making the learning FUN! Colorful characters and catchy songs make students more likely to retain concepts related to earning, saving, spending, and donating that are brought to life in the Cha-Ching music videos, and because the song lyrics are easily printed out for students to follow along, Cha-Ching bolsters reading literacy in addition to finlit.
Activities, both for teachers and/or parents, serve to extend the learning by sparking discussion around spending and saving decisions students may face now or in the future. If your school has access to Discovery Education Experience, the Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids Channel acts as a safe, one-stop-shop to access program materials ? for teachers, parents, AND students.
My personal favorite? The ?Entrepreneur? video, classroom activity, and family activity because they perfectly with the 4th grade economics unit. My students were excited to learn there are choices they can make with money now, and the resources come with plenty of idea starters to get kids in your class brainstorming ways financial literacy relates to them. I also love the optional extensions to help kids who might be struggling to grasp these topics. Having the “Ideas for Earning Money” page to give to kids is great, because some students have a hard time getting started and need a spark to ignite their creativity (as I?m sure many fellow educators already know)!
I would encourage all K-6 teachers to find ways to incorporate these lessons on financial literacy into the classroom. Easy, fun, and quick, some of the activities could easily be worked into a 10-minute open time slot. Teaching our students financial literacy will help them for their entire life.
While I implement this content in my classroom, I also plan to go through the Cha-Ching content with my younger child this summer. Cha-Ching is just what I have been looking for to support my own children in addition to my students! Check out the resources today at: www.cha-chingusa.org.
PS: The Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids Contest is STILL OPEN THROUGH JUNE 25! Parents, teachers, and community members can vote on behalf of their school (every day!) for the chance to win $10k for your school plus $1k for charity. Voting takes 2 minutes, so make sure to spread the word!Read More
|Girl Scouts is Fueling the Future of STEM|
|Bring a Cross Curricular Approach to Your Instruction with Resources from TGR EDU: Explore|
|Inspire Students to Consider Careers in Mining Innovation with All-New Dig Into Mining Career Resources|
|Virtual Learning Resources from Ask, Listen, Learn and Discovery Education Spark Important Conversations at Home about the Prevention of Underage Drinking|
|Why ALL Students Should Experience Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids|