More than ever, jobs at all levels, not just for scientists, are requiring STEM knowledge and specific abilities that are associated with a STEM education (Lacey & Wright, 2009; Rothwell, 2013). Additionally, The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (Vilorio, 2014) reports that STEM occupations will continue to grow faster than other occupations. While the demand for jobs in STEM fields continues to grow, many of these positions remained unfilled due to an unskilled labor force. Students in the U.S. also pursue far fewer degrees in STEM subjects compared to other competitive countries (National Science Board, 2012). The results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 2017a) reveal troubling information: students in America are continuously performing below their grade level in science and mathematics. The literature review in this study highlights the significant impact students’ early experiences in STEM education can have on their attitudes toward STEM education and the desire to pursue STEM careers. Therefore, to make STEM education desirable for all students, teachers must be aware of the effective classroom practices that promote STEM learning and interest at the K-12 level. This phenomenological study explored the best practices K-12 teachers integrate into the classroom to increase student interest in STEM-related subjects and promote STEM degree and career pursuance. The researcher utilized a phenomenological design by conducting semi-structured interviews with participants who had direct experience with the phenomenon. The results from the interviews are intended to better inform K-12 teachers, administrators, and policymakers on the strategies to increase student interest in STEM-related subjects. Furthermore, this study is intended to bring awareness to the troubling number of students in the U.S. who do not have partial mastery of fundamental mathematics and science skills and concepts.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Science -- Study and teaching; Technology -- Study and teaching; Engineering -- Study and teaching; Mathematics -- Study and teaching; Teacher effectiveness; Educational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Farzin Madjidi