Interest: Curiosity and engagement in STEM subjects

Child working on robotics

Are we creating environments and experiences that are engaging, inviting, accessible, and comfortable so young people feel they belong and want to participate in STEM? Interest is a measure of how well we have done at these tasks. Research shows that STEM interest tends to decline after elementary school. One reason for the drop may be the different ways young people engage with STEM skills and concepts at different ages, moving from more play-based and hands-on approaches in early years to more technical and clinical approaches later on.


Fast facts

Interest in science outside of school

About a third of Minnesota's 8th graders say they do science-related activities that are not for schoolwork, demonstrating their interest in pursuing STEM concepts in their free time.
30 %

Advanced coursework

About a third of Minnesota's high school graduates enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) STEM courses during high school, reflecting their interest in advanced coursework in STEM.
37 %

Interest in STEM

About a third of Minnesota's high school graduates say they are interested in STEM, indicating an interest in STEM subjects or an inclination to study STEM beyond high school.
35 %

Lack of interest

Across measures of STEM interest, about two-thirds of Minnesota's young people show a lack of interest (or access) to STEM activities, courses, and opportunities. We all have a role to play in generating and sustaining students’ interest in STEM.