Science and Math Skills Can Be Cultivated in Youth

Our dependence upon technology and science increases each day, and it is vital that children have the educational opportunities to deepen their understanding about science and how it applies to their daily lives. The need for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-based learning opportunities is crucial.

According to PublicAgenda.com, 90 percent of American adults believe studying advanced math and science is useful for all students and 88 percent believe that studying advanced math and science gives students an advantage when it comes to college opportunities. Even so, public schools are taking actions to reduce their emphasis. According to a report by the Center on Educational Policy, NCLB Year 5: Instructional Time in Elementary Schools: A Closer Look at Changes for Specific Subjects, elementary schools decreased the amount of time for science instruction on average by 75 minutes (33 percent) per week from 2002 to 2008. There should be no surprise why U.S. students tend to score progressively lower on standardized tests in science and math.

Weeklong programs supporting STEM education and motivation are valuable in providing quality enrichment programs that give children opportunities to improve their familiarity with and attitude toward math and science. When students are learning about STEM subjects, fun can be used to boost interest in these topics. Well-planned programs build self-esteem and show children that a passion for science is a remarkable quality.

A program that focuses on STEM education should promote a love of  science, teamwork and critical thinking, with a focus on children in grades one through six, when children are forming opinions about the world and their brains are still developing. Curricula supporting STEM education at its best provides a hands-on approach to solving challenges.

For 22 years, Camp Invention has pioneered and promoted a love of science, teamwork and critical thinking through weeklong programs supporting STEM education. With more than 1,200 program sites in 49 states, instilling skills that challenge children to think creatively and work together in a handson setting with a focus on the importance of science in our environment.

Debbie Thompson is a Frisco ISD educator and director of Camp Invention-Frisco. For more information on Camp Invention or to find a program site, visit CampInvention.com

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