STEM. Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths: Four subjects that many of us remember studying at some point or another in school, and, in some cases, my own included, not necessarily with the same enthusiasm I harbour for the subjects today.
In fact, I struggle to think of a maths lesson I attended, growing up in Birmingham that didn’t start with a young pre-employed know-it-all enthusiastically challenging Ms Coates, our exasperated maths teacher, with a question along the lines of “What’s the point in learning algebra!?”.
But the truth is, knowingly or otherwise, we’ve all been using these four subjects, day-in, day-out our whole lives. From our earliest experiences as a starry eyed infants, wide eyed with inquisitive wonder at the mysteries and marvels all around us, to the smart phone using, money managing, time keeping, generally capable people we’ve all grown up to be today.
The UK has a proud history of invention and innovation, with British STEM celebrities like Darwin, Newton, Brunel, Hawking and Bell household names the world over. Today, our government has made no secret of the fact that it believes that if we want the UK to remain a world leader in research and technology we will need a future generation that is passionate about, and skilled in STEM.
For me, as schools officer at the NMA, I am lucky enough to be surrounded a host of other unique examples of this learning as our divers jump into the UK’s largest marine display to safely swim with some of the world’s top predators; to work alongside visiting students as they design their own tanks, encode and send messages to each other through communication tubes, observe octopi using camouflage to disappear in front of their very eyes or study the reality of life under the waves.
In a world with an ever increasing reliance on technology, the importance of embracing STEM is becoming more and more apparent, and what is more, working with it every day at the aquarium, I can honestly say – It’s really good fun too!