As school districts across the United States reimagine the start to the school year in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a parent survey by manufacturing software and technology leader Emerson (NYSE: EMR) finds that a vital part of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education has been difficult to translate from the classroom to virtual learning: hands-on experience.
A significant majority (91%) of parents point to hands-on experience and experiments as key to motivating their child’s interest in math and science, yet less than 4 in 10 (39%) parents have done these hands-on experiments in the current remote learning environment. More than 8 out of 10 (84%) parents said they would be likely to participate in these activities with their children if given directions, materials and a lesson plan.
This interactive teaching method provides a boost in a much-needed discipline: Nearly 6 in 10 parents (57%) say their child is lagging in at least one subject area, and 3 out of 10 parents named math (31%) as the biggest challenge for their child. On the flip side, 31% of parents said their child is excelling the most at English and reading.
“Educators and families are focused on modifying learning environments to ensure students can continue to learn in a safe way,” said Emerson President Mike Train. “We believe companies have a responsibility to offer resources to help support the next generation of innovators. Part of that is continuing to provide avenues for students to engage with the interactive, hands-on activities that inspire a lifelong love of STEM.”
Through its “We Love STEM” initiative now in its sixth year, Emerson is making hands-on activities and experiments with common household items available for families on Emerson.com/WeLoveSTEM. To help children in its own Missouri headquarters community, Emerson distributed more than 6,000 kits containing instructions and supplies to elementary and middle-school students in Ferguson, Florissant and Jennings school districts.
These STEM activities were designed to help drive continuity in the hands-on education that students would typically receive in a classroom and support to parents. Nearly 8 out of 10 parents (78%) feel equipped to help their child with schoolwork during the pandemic, but many cited additional resources that would help: increased communication with teachers (52%), a better understanding of the subject matter (51%), more access to teaching materials and resources like a computer or internet access (48%) and more time in the day to devote to helping (43%).
Emerson has a strong focus on building STEM education. The company has partnerships with more than 350 universities and technical colleges worldwide and donated $8.3 million to developing and training future generations through schools, universities and related programs in fiscal year 2019. In addition, Emerson has hosted over 30 “We Love STEM” events in 12 countries, reaching more than 2,000 students with interactive STEM activities.
For more information, visit Emerson.com/WeLoveSTEM.
Emerson (NYSE: EMR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial and residential markets. Our Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Commercial & Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information visit Emerson.com.
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States between July 23-26, 2020 by The Harris Poll on behalf of Emerson. The survey was conducted among 1,000 adults (aged 18 and over) who are the parent or legal guardian of a child between the ages of 6 and 17.