November 8th is National STEM Day and Microsoft is excited to help you and your students celebrate! National STEM Day was founded in 2015 to encourage students to pursue careers in the fast-growing fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Celebrated on November 8th each year, it is an opportunity to introduce students to passions and careers they might not otherwise know exist. Fun fact: November 8th isn’t a randomly chosen day, Nov8 is a numeronym, pronounced: “innovate.”

Whether you want to explore an immersive learning experience with Minecraft: Education Edition or provide opportunities for students to innovate and solve real issues locally and globally in the Imagine Cup, Microsoft can help you inspire your students to embrace STEM.

Representation and encouragement matter

Historically, women and people of color are vastly underrepresented in STEM careers. Girls Who Code and Logitech found that teachers had the second greatest influence (50%) in helping people pursue a technology career, only after a family member or friend (60%). Incorporating STEM opportunities into classroom instruction and highlighting diversity in STEM fields can make a difference in access for all.   

A fast-growing and ever-changing field

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10.8% increase in STEM fields between 2021 and 2031, where non-STEM occupations are only projected to grow by 4.9%. As a result, qualified STEM careers will be in high demand. STEM presents a vast number of exciting opportunities for students to blend their passions with their future careers. Those who love the outdoors may be interested in environmental engineering, working to preserve waterways, or wildlife. If students are interested in the effects of climate on weather patterns they could become meteorologists or storm chasers!

Microsoft can support those future skills now by giving students access to tools they’ll need to pursue these careers. For example, students who love video games can begin their journey in MakeCode Arcade and develop skills to help them pursue a future career in game design.

Embracing STEM in the classroom

STEM is very hands-on, accessible, and engaging. It can be incorporated into any subject or classroom because it’s more than a subject area, it’s an invaluable mindset. Approaching learning from a STEM lens fosters curiosity, creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking that can be applied to any content area making cross-curricular connections endless.

Educator Opportunities

Microsoft is committed to supporting educators by providing a variety of entry points for embracing STEM regardless of previous experience. The Learn Educator Center offers free learning pathways, modules, and resources to help you grow professionally and innovate your classroom.  

On Learn the Hacking STEM collection is a curated group of standards-based middle school lessons written by educators for educators. They are inquiry and project-based activities that help students visualize data across science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum in exciting ways.

Student Opportunities

Engaging in STEM encourages students to explore, collaborate, and innovate their ideas. What is more fun than finding a new solution to a real problem? Students use peer and real-world feedback to improve their process, design, or solution, helping them develop important skills for their futures.

Students can utilize Learn Student Hub to explore STEM careers or learn new skills to support their interest in STEM. They can learn valuable skills for free like GitHub Student Developer, Visual Studio Code or even become a Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador! They can also earn Microsoft Certifications that start with foundational skills, then additional topics are covered ranging from Azure to AI, to data analytics and cybersecurity, preparing them for the future.

Developing sustainable solutions with Minecraft Education Edition

John Dewey High School in Brooklyn, New York, was already incorporating projects that linked students with their local community and the natural environment. So, when the school decided to do a cleanup of Coney Island Creek, they immediately saw an opportunity to create a STEM collaborative. They reached out to the Minecraft Club which were already working on a sustainable urban design challenge.

“We have embraced tools like Minecraft in the classroom that help build the skills needed for young people to thrive: to express their ideas, learn confidently, and explore issues that matter to them and their communities.” - Heather Adelle, Principal, John Dewey High School

Learn how John Dewey HS and the NYCDOE are inspiring sustainability education and building career pathways in the green economy with tools like Minecraft. 

Minecraft Education Edition supports STEM skills like creative problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking in an immersive digital environment. Using Minecraft, John Dewey’s students were able to recreate the estuary environment and develop innovative solutions to environmental problems like pollution that threaten the oyster reefs in Brooklyn.

Microsoft makes it easy to get started using Minecraft Education Edition in the classroom. We offer training for educators from the basics of getting started to more focused content, including coding, computer science, and esports. Minecraft also provides over 600 standards-aligned ready-to-use lessons and worlds to explore.

Use these free training modules on Learn to get started.

Solving real-world issues with a global community

Microsoft supports students in their quest to create innovative solutions for impact with their annual global technology and innovation competition for students, the Imagine Cup. Over the past 21 years, more than 2 million student competitors have signed up to build and learn together, make a difference in their communities, and innovate for impact. Last year’s winner, the V Bionic team, created ExoHeal, an exoskeleton aimed at providing rehabilitation to patients with hand paralysis by effectively retraining and recovering their motor functions. Their device is 30% more effective than existing devices and solved the problems lacking in the already existent rehabilitation devices by being more precise, portable, quick, and responsive. 

The goal of Imagine Cup is to empower every student on the planet to achieve more. Young developers are invited to submit their original technology solutions utilizing Microsoft Azure for a chance to win cash, prizes, and mentoring. All students need is a passion for making positive change. Once they form an Imagine cup team, Microsoft provides training on creating a successful project for a hackathon or competition. Microsoft also provides $100 USD cloud credit and free downloadable developer tools for their project with Azure for Students.

When student teams compete in the Imagine Cup, they become part of a worldwide community of like-minded students and mentors. Encourage interested students to register as a team for the 2023 Imagine Cup now until December 2023 or inspire your students while watching the Imagine Cup World Championship in May 2023! 

Integrating STEM into the classroom can be an engaging and easy way to help students develop skills and mindsets for college and career readiness. Innovate the classroom using Microsoft’s exciting resources and opportunities for STEM teaching and learning