Smart is the new cool, and that’s the message behind this year’s National STEAM Day on November 8.
The impending STEAM worker shortage is no secret, and districts are working hard to ensure their students have early and frequent exposure to STEAM learning.
In fact, early exposure is key to keeping students engaged in progressively challenging material. And even if students don’t pursue a STEAM field in college, that’s OK–the skills they learn in K-12, such as collaboration and critical thinking, will serve them well in whatever career path they take.
Keeping girls engaged in STEAM seems an uphill battle at times. Once they enter middle school, STEAM becomes “uncool,” and that unfortunate social classification, coupled with tougher concepts and lower self-confidence in STEAM classes, leads many girls to opt out altogether.
You may have noticed Project Mc² products in stores; the STEAM line for girls features experiment sets and dolls that focus on skills and smarts. The products have a companion Emmy-nominated Netflix show featuring a team of girls working for a government organization called NOV8. (See what they did there? November 8 is National STEAM Day, and NOV8 sounds like “innovate.”)
And while STEAM doesn’t necessarily need a girly hook to capture girls’ attention (not all science kits need to be pink or involve makeup creation), it does show that companies and organizations are thinking more about how to snag girls’ attention and get them involved in the science behind their hobbies.