Tinkering Guide

Written by Bonnie Gringer

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These subjects are a part of every aspect of our lives. Science explains the processes that are happening within us and around us. Science helps us understand our natural world, including the sun, stars, moon, ocean, animals, weather, plants, and more. Technology is growing in its importance to our everyday functions of life. We use televisions, tablets, and smartphones every day. Advances in medicine and other fields are made using microscopes and other technological equipment. Engineering underlies everyday experiences, forming the foundations of roads and every vehicle that travels on them. Every area of our life has been engineered in some way. And mathematics is in every occupation and many of the tasks we perform each day. It is also the basis for every other STEM field.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM careers are growing at a rate of 17%, while non-STEM occupations are growing at a rate of 9.8%. STEM careers also tend to bring a larger income than non-STEM careers. People educated in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are innovators who lead the way to new ways of doing things. In the 21st century, these innovations are becoming increasingly important. The challenges and benefits that come with globalization and a knowledge-based economy require competence in STEM-related concepts. As time goes by, more and more jobs will require people with specific and developed STEM skills.

Hands-on learning is an important part of STEM education. It is one of the most popular and effective types of learning and allows you to use trial and error and to learn from mistakes or miscalculations. It closes the gap between theory and practice. Hands-on learning activities can motivate you to stay interested in learning. Some students find a traditional lecture format very boring and have a tough time staying focused on or excited about the subject when they’re just listening and taking notes. But being able to work with your hands and your mind on projects can help you connect with the subject on multiple levels. Even the students who do enjoy traditional classroom lectures can gain a new perspective from exploring material in this way.

Hands-on learning teaches practical problem-solving skills and provides a way to look at school subjects in real-life scenarios. It’s also a more concrete way to deal with abstract subjects such as math. And this type of education can also introduce you to trades that require specific skills. There are many careers in highly skilled trades such as auto mechanics and welding, and these fields also require STEM knowledge. The only way to learn these trades or to find out if such careers might be of interest is to dig in and try them.

The best part about hands-on STEM learning is that it doesn’t have to just take place in the classroom. There are also a lot of different experiments and activities you can do at home that are fun and help you learn about things like science and engineering. You can also try tinkering with things around the house to see how they work (with your parents’ permission, of course). Since science, technology, engineering, and math are all around us, you can learn about them anywhere at any time.


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