Session Number Th4-02

2018 Session
Using Books to Encourage Children's Interest in STEM
Laurie Wallmark, Adjunct Assistant Professor - Computer Sci, Raritan Valley Community College, and Jennifer Swanson, Johns Hopkins University's Center for Tale

Level: all levels
Grades: All

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Ignite students interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) through STEM-related books, both fiction and nonfiction. Barriers to learning about these subjects include: inadequate exposure; prejudicial expectations; and lack of interest. Books can help students overcome all these obstacles. The digital divide in our country runs deep. How can our poorer districts afford the resources needed for children to learn about STEM? If we can't provide hands-on experiences for these children, at least we can help them learn about STEM through books. Certain groups of students, such as girls, children of color, and those with physical or mental challenges, have an additional barrier to their STEM education"prejudicial expectations. Books can help combat the stereotypes driving these prejudices. Many children have preconceived notions of about what they think a scientist or mathematician is supposed to look like. Books will help change these. The last barrier to STEM education is a child's lack of interest. It is perfectly reasonable for children to prefer interests other than STEM. What is not acceptable is if this lack of interest is due to the child never being exposed to the creative, enjoyable side of STEM. Here again, books can help, by showing the fun side of STEM. There are so many well-written STEM books, both fiction and nonfiction, available to our children today. Let's take advantage of them and prepare our children for today's world.