Study Shows That Parents Struggle with Reaching Their Children STEM

A survey conducted by One Poll and commissioned by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in London has found that parents feel stressed out when trying to help their children with STEM-related topics. STEM topics include Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Parents have limited knowledge of STEM topics

The study gathered a few parents along with their kids aged between 5 and 13. About 1/3 of the parents said that the thought of answering their children’s STEM questions left them feeling sick. Another 48% admitted not knowing what STEM stands for. 

Other parents (50%) felt their children had more knowledge of Science than they did. The parents had the same opinion regarding the other STEM topics, with 44% saying their children were better at technology, 25% with engineering and 38% in Math.

The researchers also discovered that the parents’ knowledge of technology and science was lacking. For example, 4 in 5 did not know what the term Boolean logic stood for. The result was the same for the terms binary code (46%), Raspberry Pi technology (64%), and hexadecimal (68%).

According to Professor Danielle George, the president of IET, the parent’s limitations in STEM could make it difficult for their children to engage with them. This is unfortunate as George believes parents have to influence their children in their career choices.

Parents could not remember what they had earned in school.

While it makes sense that parents would have trouble keeping up with new trends in science and technology, researchers found that they also had difficulty with topics they had learned in school. More than 50% did not remember what photosynthesis is. Another 68% struggled with remembering Pythagoras’ theorem, and 54% did know how to do long division.

Other Math problems they had trouble solving were calculating fractions (52%) and finding circumference (61%). About 8 in 10 didn’t know that an octagon had eight sides.

Despite their shortcomings, out of ten parents, seven thought their children would gain confidence by learning STEM. In addition, 2 out of 3 parents said they wished they had been taught STEM in the engaging way it is taught to their children.

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