When Will I Ever Need This? Can STEM Ambassadors Help Answer The Question? 

“When will I ever need this?” This is the cry you hear countless times as a teacher, particularly from students who are struggling with the concepts involved. 

What Is Your Response? 

“You might get a question on this in the exam” seems a pretty lame response. In an ideal world, students will not need to ask this question as they will know that whatever the future holds for them, they will, in one form or another, have to ‘do some maths’. 
What can we do then, as teachers, to help students to not ask this question in the first place? The truthful answer is that we often don’t know when a particular student will use the bit of maths they are asking about.  
But we do know that students will use the mathematics skills developed at school in whatever career they end up pursuing. 

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Including Careers In Your Lessons 

We can easily include some careers elements to our lessons. When you are doing your planning, make sure that you find real world uses for each topic you are teaching. Get into the habit of regularly mentioning these examples when you are talking with your students.   If you are stuck for ideas of where maths is used, take a look at the following websites: 



There are also lots of videos of people explaining how they use maths in their work and this can be a fantastic way to bring careers to life. Here are a few to get you started: 


STEM Ambassadors 

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Videos are all well and good, but nothing makes a bigger impact than a visit from a real-life inspirational speaker. The STEM Ambassador Programme helps teachers get a STEM Ambassador into schools to give a careers talk, lead an activity in the classroom or offer support to a STEM Club.  
It might feel risky to arrange an outside visitor, especially when you are a new teacher. That is why using a well-established programme such as STEM Ambassadors makes the process much easier.  
This handbook explains the benefits of engaging with the STEM Ambassador programme, what they can offer and how you can engage with the programme in your classroom. 
STEM Ambassadors will bring the curriculum to life in a totally unique way, enabling pupils to see that maths actually does matter out there in the real world. As teachers, we also want to stay fresh and to keep up to date with the latest developments in careers. Inviting a STEM Ambassador into your classroom will help you to do just that.    


Here Is What One Teacher Says On The STEM Ambassador Website:  

"I think it's absolutely imperative that teachers request a STEM Ambassador! These individuals have incredible skills and knowledge that they can bring into a classroom that you simply don’t have within your school walls".

- Mike Fairburn, Teacher of Business & ICT, Egglescliffe School & Sixth Form College 


Article Written By Stephen Lyon, Mathematics Lead, National STEM Learning Network 


Image Credits: 
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash 
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Pixabay – Group of professionals 



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