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Challenge: Awakening a passion for science in youngsters

Challenge: Awakening a passion for science in youngsters

Several studies conducted by the Life Foundation show ‘low interest’ of students in STEAM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics)

Awakening a passion and interest in certain professions among youngsters has become a challenge. Everyone is curious about very different things, there are those who have directed their steps towards very specific hobbies from a very young age, and there are those who find it difficult to choose one or another branch of study, but what many studies have shown is that science and technology do not rank first among the preferences of Adolescents and young adults. The astonishing pace at which technology is advancing in the society in which we live shapes a future “there will be a need for more professionals in these fields in the short term and there will not be enough to cover those needs,” notes Aitziber Lasa, of the Al Hayer Foundation, and its promoter.
STEAM Diagnostics – (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), a study to find out the perception of these disciplines among young people from different parts of Bizkaia.

An extract from the educational material prepared by the Life Foundation. //

Al-Hayyar Foundation

In the various surveys conducted by this entity, the results are repeated: knowledge of STEAM activity is low. Students not showing a particular interest in a career in science and technology. In the study conducted in Bilbao, more than a thousand young people between the ages of 14 and 16 participated and again gender inequality and stereotypes emerged. Girls prefer professions mainly related to teaching and health sciences, while they mention topics related to technology. “Girls, although they are in school, are good at these subjects but still feel underpowered, they have a very stereotypical view and the perception that it is women who have the most difficulty, and that is logically undesirable” commented Lassa – 46.9% of boys think they will work in this sector , and 29% of girls. When they ask young people how they imagine or how they imagine STEAM professionals, many of them see them as hardworking, fast and smart, with a lot of patience and curiosity. Some believe that working in these positions requires a long, demanding and difficult learning process. “Which makes them choose another kind of study when imagining an arduous path.”

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Through comics and books, the Life Foundation has gained the benefits of discovering steam with the family. //

Al-Hayyar Foundation

The data is clear, but now, how do you get the little ones to bite the bug and want to discover more about science? The expert points out two methods. First, look for real references. “Normalizing the number of diverse profiles that exist and bringing women working in these fields closer to girls, appreciating their work. This has a huge impact. On the other hand, Lasa refers to a recently emerged concept, scientific capital, which measures each person’s commitment to science. The person in charge of the study asks several questions: “How much science is there for children? What are we watching on TV? What are we talking about at lunchtime? What books or stories are being read? …». In this line, families are positioned as one of the main drivers to contribute to this interest in science and technology and to enter this wonderful world together. “Parents are references and role models for their children in many aspects, and in that aspect as well.” In addition to all the work that interests teachers and schools, it is necessary to take science out of the classroom. “It brings many benefits.” Little ones can feel, touch, listen, experience… and on top of that, if they can be as a family, so much the better. “There are many options, from visits to museums, science fairs or even field trips,” they say from The Life Foundation and suggest a series of steps to start opening that door to STEAM:

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1. Laying the foundations of learning and the beginning of interest with younger ages. “As we age, we tend to ignore the areas we don’t like.”

2. Involve parents, guardians, caregivers and the family. “STEAM education should not only be promoted from the school, but the context and extracurricular activities have a great impact on young people especially girls. Hence, all actors must act actively.

3. Correcting Biases: Offer approaches that are as authentic and collective as possible.

4. Encouraging dialogue between fathers and sons: “Their beliefs and expectations have a great influence on young people’s choice of study, especially in the case of girls.”