Children are natural scientists – full of curiosity and wonder about the world around them. But often in the teenage years, this natural interest can diminish as teenagers begin to think of science as boring, confusing or difficult. Don’t panic: we promise that your kid’s thirst for learning is intact. They probably just feel bored or unchallenged by their school STEM classes! Here are five ways to help rekindle a love of STEM in your teenager.
A good mentor can push a teenager in ways that parents sometimes can’t, providing a much-needed source of positive leadership and guidance at a time when teenagers are staking out their independence. In addition to helping teenagers build confidence and discipline, a rockstar STEM mentor can also spark a high schooler’s curiosity about STEM fields, shatter stereotypes about who practices STEM, and demonstrate the diversity of STEM career options. Does your teen admire an upperclassman who’s planning on majoring in Bio in college? Do they love their Physics teacher? Do they have a cool cousin working at a programming start-up? Any of these figures could make for an awesome mentor.
STEM internships can give high schoolers a chance to learn the ins & outs of a STEM career first-hand. Check out some local tech companies & STEM start-ups to see if they have high school internship programs. Who knows? Maybe your teenager will write an amazing college essay about how they discovered their love of coding during their summer at Verizon!
Nothing sparks a love of STEM like a great STEM community! Pitch activities like robotics club or coding classes to your teenager to encourage them to explore concepts like logic, math, and engineering in a relaxed and collaborative environment with their peers.
Have a high schooler at home who loves to win? Try signing them up for a STEM competition! From local science fairs to state-level math competitions to national robotics contests, teens can put their minds to the test devising creative solutions to global problems while expanding their STEM horizons and meeting other students with a passion for STEM.
Not every high schooler wants to be a lifelong lab rat – but your teenager shouldn’t let that dissuade them from exploring STEM studies! If your teen loves sports, show them an article about sports statisticians. If they love Fortnite, ask them if they know about video game developers. If they’re a visual artist, hand them an interview with a Pixar animator. The STEM field is broad, and it can accommodate a huge range of personalities and interests!