Is your community STEM aware?

What do you think is the current level of STEM awareness within your community?

Is your community STEM aware? STEM is the acronym that refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

If you’ve never really thought about these questions, you are not alone. While STEM is often in the news, many people are unsure of what engaging in STEM really means. Michigan State University Extension is dedicated to increasing STEM literacy across Michigan by providing programing to increase STEM awareness and involvement. You can help youth and your communities become more STEM aware by exploring the above questions. Here are just a couple ways you could do that.

  • Ask youth what they think makes a good scientist, then encourage a little exploration to discover what scientists really do.
  • Ask youth to think about all the technology they use each day, then think about their life without technology.
  • Ask youth to consider if engineering is an art form. Why or why not? You might ask youth to identify what they think an engineer does. Do they think an engineer needs to problem-solve and be creative about solutions? In what way is engineering similar to art?
  • Ask youth if they think math is fun. Why or why not? You might need to explore math outside the classroom by asking where youth think they use math. Do they use it when putting together a puzzle, or building a toy car or rocket? How about when mixing paints for a new color or making cookies?

STEM education strengthens critical thinking skills and other skills needed to be successful, lifelong learners. It prepares youth to thrive and contribute in a complex and changing world. What do you think is the current level of STEM awareness within your community?

For more ways to share science with youth in your life, please explore the MSU Extension Science and Engineering webpage. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension office. To learn more about 4-H and Extension opportunities in Alcona County, stop by our Harrisville office at 320 S. US-23 or visit our Alcona County MSU Extension Facebook page.

MSU Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to create a community excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 4-H STEM programming seeks to increase science literacy, introducing youth to the experiential learning process that helps them to build problem-solving, critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Youth who participate in 4-H STEM are better equipped with critical life skills necessary for future success. To learn more about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth in STEM literacy programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Building Science Literacy and Future STEM Professionals.”

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