STEM Challenge: Student Engagement and Identity with Science

Instructional Strategies: 
Supporting Science

Students who can envision themselves as scientists or mathematicians are more likely to pursue STEM coursework beyond middle and high school. Many students with disabilities may struggle to see themselves as STEM professionals.

Consider the use of:

  • Simulations and immersive environments that let students practice “being scientists”
  • Distance technologies (e.g., Skype, video conferencing) for collaboration and mentoring with real STEM professionals, especially those with disabilities and from underrepresented populations

Get students interested and engaged with the following resources:

  1. Engineer Your Life - The Engineer Your Life Web site is the centerpiece of a national campaign designed to encourage young college-bound women to consider pursuing careers in engineering. Encourage your students to see themselves in STEM careers as they learn more about what life and work are like for engineers. Students can learn about how each engineer got into their field, read interviews, follow a day in the life of an engineer, and even ask the engineers questions. 
  2. JASON Learning - This platform provides curriculum and resources that drop students (K-12) in simulated situations, where they must strategize to solve real-world problems. Students are provided with mentorship with leading STEM professionals. Students can also participate in live webcasts with STEM professionals to learn about what they do and their educational and career paths.
  3. NASA's Scientist Chats & Ask a Scientist - Engage with STEM professionals on a variety of topics, or ask a scientist in a particular field (e.g., astrobiology, astronomy, astrophysics, geology, lunar science, physics, etc.) your own question.

Using these resources, all students can learn more about how they can get involved in STEM, connect with leaders and practitioners in STEM careers, and see that they may be more like their favorite scientist than they thought!

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