Getting your elementary school kids excited about STEM.

Posted November 11, 2020 by Jessica Fahrenholtz

STEM or science, technology, engineering, and math is a growing trend in education, and for good reason. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in STEM fields are projected to grow 76% higher than those in a non-STEM related field. If trends continue, then most of today’s elementary school students will eventually find themselves working in a STEM-related position.


That means fostering a love of science, technology, engineering, and math in students at a young age will help better prepare them for success as they grow into college and career. 


While some students love STEM subjects, others may struggle in one or more of these areas. No matter where your child falls on this spectrum, academic competitions are a fabulous way to get kids excited about learning these important skills and extend their learning beyond the classroom. It helps to start young too. Studies show that when  youth are introduced to STEM topics at a young age, they are more likely to demonstrate confidence in the subjects in the future. Here are some great ways you can use academic competitions to get elementary school students excited about STEM.


Make it a fun!


Through competitions like the Rube Goldberg, Machine Contest students get the opportunity to expand their thinking and give STEM lessons a real-world context in a fun, wacky way that kids love.


Get hands-on.


One of the best ways for kids to actively engage in their education and retain what they are learning is to provide hands-on experiences. Like the Junior Botball Challenge, many academic competitions do just that by allowing kids to learn as they build robots to compete with. To students, this really is a game but delightfully to educators and parents; these competitions pack a large dose of engaging lessons. 



Help kids make an impact.


Kids often have inventive ideas to solve the problems plaguing our world. Academic competitions give them an outlet to share those ideas and apply them in real ways. The Bonnie Plant’s 3rd Grade Kids Cabbage Program offers kids as young as third grade the opportunity to have a small part in working towards a sustainable future.


Help kids see themselves in STEM careers.


Many of the careers today’s children will one day have will involve STEM in some way. However, many children, especially girls do not have a self-image of them in a STEM career. Academic competitions like The Engineer Girl essay contest allow students to see themselves in those careers and learn the real-world skills they will need to continue solving them in the future.


Academic competitions give kids a choice in their STEM education.


With hundreds of academic competitions to choose from, there is sure to be one that suits your child’s interest. A great resource to browse all that’s available is our competitions page where you can filter by age to find all of the competitions that may be interesting for your youngest kids. Finding a competition that fits your students’ interests will help them stay engaged and encourage them to take a personal stake in their projects’ success.


Academic competitions are a great way to get students excited about STEM education and get them involved in a hands-on way. 


If you’re interested in participating in more than one competition, then a premium account is an excellent option for you. Upgrade to a premium account so you can track your progress in competitions, get insider information on academic competitions, access the ICS competitions concierge, and gain exclusive discounts on ICS-managed programs.