Which topics from school do you remember most vividly? For many people, hands-on lessons like dissecting frogs and building batteries stand out – rather than lecturing their students, teachers let them put your knowledge to the test. This made school more enjoyable and helped you retain concepts. STEM education integrates science, technology, engineering, and maths to teach students how to solve real-world challenges. Few sectors face more sustainability issues than transportation but students who learn STEM will be better equipped to solve them. Here is why.
What Is STEM-Based Education?
STEM is a discipline that combines Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics into a single subject. It teaches students how to approach problems from any of the four disciplines by creating fun and interactive lessons that integrate these topics.
STEM is hands-on and problem-focused – students participate directly in the learning process rather than just listening to lectures. STEM students become empowered and confident critical thinkers by solving real-world challenges. They learn to observe and manipulate the world around them within and outside the classroom.
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Getting More Students Into STEM
The world faces increasingly complex sustainability challenges, and giving all students the chance to earn a STEM degree is more important than ever. Although the STEM job market is expanding, a gender gap has become apparent, with girls in many countries avoiding these degrees or performing worse than boys on the same topics.
This is not a result of biology. It is about how different cultures socialise and educate children – and how this affects their perception of the world. How can we encourage more girls to participate in STEM?
It is important to start preparing girls for STEM early on. Strong elementary school maths programmes help girls develop confidence at a young age. Female science, maths, technology, and engineering teachers give girls positive role models to learn from. Importantly, when students show an interest in STEM, parents and educators should encourage them to pursue the topic.
Recruiting more girls to earn STEM degrees will be crucial for meeting the world’s growing sustainability needs, especially as the global shipping network expands.
Environmental Challenges in Shipping
The worldwide movement of goods has changed most people’s lives for the better. Before the advent of refrigeration, the only fresh foods people could access came from local farms. Today, you can order food, clothes, and even medicine from around the world right to your door. In many cases, orders arrive the same day they are placed, an astonishing feat made possible by logistics and GPS technology improvements.
While the staggering increase in goods transportation offers many benefits, the transportation sector is also responsible for a major uptick in carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution. Collectively, ground-based freight vehicles and international cargo ships account for 35% of the sector’s carbon footprint and the industry emits over 7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Creating a greener shipping industry will require a collaborative effort from the world’s best and brightest minds. Chemists must discover new, low-carbon fuels. Engineers must design better electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. It will take strong leaders and policymakers to implement these changes and educate the public about them. Who better to turn to than today’s STEM students?
4 Reasons Why STEM Education Is Important
Why are STEM students the future of sustainable transportation?
1. Job Opportunities
STEM students graduate with skills that translate to more advanced jobs, such as engineering and research roles. In the US, STEM-based positions pay $53,310 more than the median wage of non-STEM occupations annually, giving people a better quality of life. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment in the STEM sector will grow by 10.8% from 2022 to 2032.
Students who earn STEM degrees are more scientifically literate. They can read journal articles with ease, understand biases in data, and translate complicated topics into discourses anyone can understand. A thorough understanding of the scientific method is crucial for working in chemistry, biology, and physics, all of which can improve the shipping industry.
3. Creative Thinking
Another reason STEM education is so critical is that graduates are innovative. Creative thinkers can brainstorm solutions to issues like improving cargo trucks’ battery life or building better scrubbers for ship exhaust pipes. They can design more efficient vehicles with lower environmental impacts for transporting goods.
4. Improved Teamwork
Participating in group projects throughout school also develops STEM students’ teamwork skills, making them better at collaborating with co-workers as adults. It’s an especially important ability to have in fields like research and development, where people often work together to solve complex problems.
The Road to a Greener World
Reducing the freight industry’s carbon footprint will require changes in policy, vehicle design, and even shipping routes. Overhauling the transportation sector is a massive undertaking, but it is necessary for the planet’s health. Cultivating and supporting a love of science, technology, engineering, and maths will help today’s STEM students become tomorrow’s leaders in sustainability.