This page provides ideas for supporting your child in different areas of STEM (science, technologies, engineering and mathematics):
STEM stands for science (biology, chemistry and physics), technologies (including digital and computing science), engineering (all types) and mathematics. As well as developing skills and knowledge in each individual subject, STEM-related education and training aims to develop young people’s ability to work across all subject areas through inter-disciplinary or project-based learning. This approach reflects the way in which STEM skills and knowledge are used in the world of work where a team with different types of expertise would work together to generate new knowledge, ideas and products.
STEM underpins much of Scotland's economy. It is a key part of major sectors such as:
The skills learned through engagement with STEM are valued by many employers including non-STEM related industries and these are increasing in number. For example, it is estimated that there are 12,800 new jobs a year in Scotland's digital sector.
Partnerships between schools and employers provide many opportunities for young people to develop their employability skills. Look out for these opportunities in your local area.
Related links: My World of Work - Why your child should consider choosing STEM subjects
Creativity is defined as the capacity to generate ideas, look at things with a fresh eye, examine problems with an open mind, make connections, learn from mistakes and use the imagination to explore new possibilities. Key creativity skills fall under four areas:
Curiosity in children often leads to questions that are pretty tricky to answer. Some of these could be:
STEM activities can encourage children and help them find out some answers to their questions.
Things parents can do at home:
Find out more about creativity with this handy guide.
Related links: YouTube - How can creativity support stem?
Children receive and absorb gender stereotyped messages about what they can and cannot do as a girl or as a boy from a very early age. The world around them and the representations they see can inform and influence these stereotypes. Having a broad range of experiences and opportunities for children will help ensure that they have equal opportunities to develop a range of skills and confidence regardless of their gender. Further information can be found
Many children enjoy STEM subjects at school. Not all children will continue to study STEM subjects or consider a career in STEM. Parents have a key role to play in helping to boost their child’s self-confidence in STEM – sometimes known as STEM capital. Talking to your child about where they see STEM in everyday life and encouraging them to think about how that relates to a variety of jobs and careers can help build and promote their interest and knowledge of STEM. Parents do not need to know all the answers. Encouraging your child to ask questions will help them to grow in confidence in STEM. Watch this video to learn more about science and STEM capital.
There are a range of resources to inspire children to help them improve their science capital. Here are some things to think about:
There are multiple pathways into a career in STEM including Further and Higher Education. This means that a career in STEM is open to everyone! There are also a range of STEM pathways through Foundation Apprenticeships such as:
Foundation Apprenticeships are open to pupils in the senior phase. Find out more about Developing the Young Workforce.
Related links: Apprenticeships in a nutshell
Scotland, like many other countries in the world, offers many exciting and rewarding careers in STEM. The skills gained through STEM can also open doors to careers in many other sectors. For instance, transferable skills such as the ability to solve problems, make accurate predictions and draw valid conclusions can be applied in many contexts. As a result, STEM skills are valued by employers across all sectors.
Information on the current and future skills demand in each region of Scotland can be found on Skills Development Scotland’s Local and National Work. Find out more about Skills with this handy guide.
Every day can be a STEM day for families with the following selection of resources.
The I am a scientist resource has lots of experiments for parents and children to try. Most of the things you’ll need to carry out the experiments can be found around the house or in the garden. The experiments are split into sections, depending on the age and stage of your child. Why not try some of these experiments and become a science family!
PDF file: I am a scientist! (6.5 MB)
PDF file: I am a scientist! (Gaelic) (8.19 MB)
Parents and carers can play a vital role in reinforcing the importance of mathematics to their children, promoting a positive attitude towards it and making it a fun activity to do together as a family. The I am a mathematician resource will help parents to support their children's learning with fun activities to do at home.
PDF file: I am a mathematician (8.6 MB)
PDF file: I am a mathematician - Gaelic version (19.8 MB)
I am an engineer is a learning resource for families to engage in STEM activities using the world around them. The workbook is split into sections depending on the age and stage of children and families and supports them to learn about engineering in a fun and challenging way. You can find out more about the work of some real life engineers and have fun trying some of the STEM activities and challenges as a family.
PDF file: I am an engineer (3.1 MB)
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