Crucial in building interest in STEM for today’s youth are the rare opportunities for hands-on challenges like robot events and STEM challenges.
In fact, researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of New Mexico discovered that engagement in STEM-related activities is one of the top factors that affect students’ college learning and career orientation.
The hands-on experience that students got from STEM competitions actually sustained their ambitions to build careers in the field. Below, we’ll take a closer look at why STEM education should go beyond the four walls of the classroom:
Why Are STEM Challenges Beneficial For Students?
Traditional science and mathematics classes are an important educational foundation for students. While these classes build knowledge and competencies, educators also need to provide greater learning opportunities so that students can deepen their understanding of STEM.
Unfortunately, students’ knowledge is mostly tested through quizzes and tests. Though this is a standard assessment procedure for schools, educators from Brock University noted that tests don’t always provide students with the opportunity to make scientific inquiries or to immerse themselves in the subject.
Instead of simply going through a question and answer process, these experts recommend performance-based assessments that allow students to demonstrate their competencies through scientific procedures, data analysis, and outcome evaluations.
STEM challenges, like youth robot competitions, are especially crucial in learning processes since they allow students to engage with the subject at hand.
Apart from that, educators can also provide students with STEM tools and apps that can test their critical thinking skills, creativity, and collaboration.
Given the importance of student engagement in STEM education, Maryville University explains that online math tools are key in aiding the learning process for students, including those with learning disabilities or those who struggle with the subject.
Interactive math tools like GeoGebra and Desmos help bridge these gaps in STEM learning by providing students with free, accessible, and engaging math programs.
These digital learning tools give kids hands-on experience in geometry, algebra, and measurement, allowing students to build fundamental skills for other STEM areas, like robotics and engineering.
By taking a more interactive approach to learning, students can develop a greater interest and understanding of STEM subjects.
What Are Some Of The Best Robotic Programs And Competitions?
Practical challenges foster young people’s passion for STEM, which is why science competitions for high school students and college students should be supported. Youth robot competitions may seem like simple DIY events for students.
However, the BotsIQ Competition at Cal U Convocation Center demonstrated that each STEM challenge can actually expose students to numerous learning and career opportunities.
Though students were primarily aiming to win the best robotics award in the program, they were also able to foster their teamwork skills and assess their potential in the manufacturing industry.
Win or lose, students can end up with stronger skills and a better career direction after participating in high school or college robot competitions.
As such, schools and parents need to encourage students to join robotic competitions and offer student robotic programs. NASA’s list of robotic competitions highlights opportunities like BEST Robotics, which is open to both middle and high school students.
Over 18,000 students participate in this competition each fall, making it an exciting opportunity for students who want to develop their technological literacy and career orientation.
Additionally, one of the most popular college robot competitions is the International Robot Olympiad, where students can showcase their skills in robot development and SW programming against competitors from various countries.
Students deserve a chance to benefit from comprehensive STEM learning opportunities. Fortunately, encouraging them to join robot events and STEM competitions can help them get one step closer to becoming the next industry leaders and innovators.