I read this post on the Science Careers blog about Sally Ride, a NASA astronaut who recently passed away. In 2009, she said that science was a "cool" subject while she was growing up, but that just wasn't the case anymore in the next generation. The post ends by stating that "Until steps are taken to restore scientific and technical careers to their former glory, it's unlikely, despite excellent educational efforts such as Ride's, that young people will again consider science 'really cool.'"
What do you think? Are the STEM fields still "cool" after all? If not, how can we boost their appeal?
I don't know about this. I mean, if you go by tv portrayals (and I'm not saying we should, but I think it is a measurement stick of sorts), scientists seem to get a lot of appreciation, even if they are mocked as being anti-social.
When I grew up in the 1980s, science was definitely not cool. I think it's gotten a heck of a lot hipper since then, probably due in large part to the tech gadgetry popularized by Apple.
I agree that it's interesting to think of this question in terms of pop-culture portrayal -- a lot of the crime-solving shows these days include in-depth scientific concepts regularly just as part of the plot. I think I remember reading somewhere that enrollment in programs like law enforcement and forensics at community colleges was going up recently, which was attributed to the popularity of these "crime-solving" shows!
"Two Online Forensic Science Games," a blog by Richard Byrne, published in Free Technology for Teachers (September 20, 2013), suggests two resources--CSI: The Experience and the Smithsonian's Catching Killers--to use with students in teaching about forensic science. Both sites encourage students to problem solve by using higher level thinking skills. The two games focus on STEM topics.
What do you think of using these online forensic science games in your classroom?