After serving as a Texas FFA state officer in 2018, Josh Witherspoon joined the iCEV team as a part-time employee for 3 years before taking on the role of content development specialist in 2022. Witherspoon holds a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications from Texas Tech University, in which his experience and proficiency in writing, marketing and CTE allow him to effectively communicate the successes of CTE educators and students and the value iCEV has to offer.
Imagine developing code for a website or prototyping a new machine: at age twelve.
As the STEM industry grows, it's predicted 3.5 million job openings will appear in STEM-related fields by 2025. To meet this demand,research shows STEM career training should start much earlier, ideally in middle school.
But what can STEM education bring to your classroom? What are the benefits it can have for middle school students?
In this article, you'll discover three of the top benefits of STEM education for middle school students:
Delivers Hands-on Experiences
Thrives with Equal Access
Offers Career Exploration
By the end of this article, you'll have a better idea of each of these values, so you can decide whether you want to bring STEM to your kids.
1. Delivers Hands-on Experiences
Engaging middle school students in hands-on learning plays an integral role in ensuring they develop the skills needed to join the workforce after graduation. After all, for many careers fields, students will have to dedicate time and focus to projects and problems over long periods.
Because STEM challenges students to engage in projects, conduct experiments, problem solve, and interact with new tools, materials and concepts, this makes STEM an excellent avenue to explore hands-on learning.
No matter what careers interest your students after they enter the workforce, the experience they gain through a STEM education will grant them useful skills to use every day on the job.
And for those middle school students who want to become the next generation of innovators and inventors, a STEM program will give them the chance to learn through real-world application of their skills.
2. Thrives with Equal Access
It's an unfortunate reality that not every student has equal access to STEM education. Whether due to a lack of accommodations for special populations students, or even just a lack of resources in general to successfully teach STEM, many students miss out on critical education that could change their lives.
After all, making STEM education accessible to middle school students offers immense value, allowing students to explore potential passions, interests, and a diverse range of subjects and skills.
Whether used in a traditional classroom or as an extracurricular activity, STEM is designed to expose students to real-world practices and challenge their problem-solving skills. And those are valuable experiences that prepare students to achieve success in the future.
Students of many diverse backgrounds can absolutely thrive with a STEM education, if only given the chance to access one. If you're looking to foster a more inclusive educational experience for students like these, then STEM will work well for you.
Looking for an approachable STEM curriculum you can use regardless of funding, space, or experience? Then check out iCEV's new STEM curriculum!
3. Offers Career Exploration
When middle school students participate in a STEM program, they are introduced to subjects like engineering, computer technology and robotics. Along the way, they begin to form connections between each of these subjects and the careers associated with them.
In other words, STEM education allows students to learn industry concepts and practices, gaining valuable perspective of how their classroom experiences support their future career.
Career exploration in STEM, then, offers limitless value to today’s middle schoolers. This is because the more students learn, the more they discover career opportunities, and prime themselves to become the next generation of innovators.
Another important point to keep in mind is that career opportunities in STEM-related industries are on the rise as the demand for research, development and innovation increases. By studying STEM subjects young, students set themselves on the path for some of the highest-paid and most important industry jobs out there.
Need Curriculum to Show Your Students the Benefits of STEM?
STEM education brings immense value to today’s middle school students, and as industries grow and change, offering opportunities to develop the next generation of innovators is paramount.
In this article, you've discovered some of the top benefits of STEM education to middle schoolers. Keeping these in mind, you'll be able to decide whether moving forward with STEM is right for your students.
And if it is, what's the next step? Where can you go to find the right course material to teach this essential subject area to your class?
If you need materials to help you teach a STEM course, then check out iCEV's STEM curriculum! This curriculum includes lesson plans, design projects, lab experiments, and more---all you need to bring hands-on learning to your classroom: