With more and more news articles surfacing of robots replacing humans in autonomous jobs, now, more than ever, it is important to spread the word of why STEM education is so important.
Science is part of our everyday life and yet in a survey conducted by USA Today, only 26% believed they had a good understanding of it. Our students are not measuring up with other developed countries either by scoring 23rd in math and 31st in science. Countries like Slovakia and the Netherlands beat us in math, while in science we were beaten by Estonia and Hungary.
Additionally, only 26% of our nation's high school seniors perform at proficient levels or above in mathematics and only 21% of our nation's high school seniors perform at proficient levels or above in science. Furthermore, when these students do enter college on a pathway toward a degree in science or engineering, nearly 40% of them switch majors in what one expert has called "the math-science death march."
The US led technological advancement and development for the last 40 years and to score so low in STEM is truly an embarrassment. For the future of our own economic well-being and employment needs, the lack of interest in STEM is a disaster in the making. A report from President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology found, "economic forecasts point to a need for producing, over the next decade, approximately 1 million more college graduates in STEM fields than expected under current assumptions."
How do we empower students to embrace STEM? By exposing them to the various creative possibilities within STEM at an early age.
How Riptide Helps with STEM Education
Recently, Riptide Software participated in the Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) Teach-In at Englewood Elementary. We covered the topic of "Software Development" and what it's like working in a field of computer science and how this relates to the importance of STEM they are learning in school.
Riptide also did some programming activities on code.org with numerous classes from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. The students worked with the Riptide team collaboratively on the smartboard solving problems using "blockly" in code.org, which generates programmatic logic to complete tasks in the popular games of Angry Birds and Minecraft.