Friday, March 25, 2016

Google Trends Might Not Figure Out STEM but Can Spot a Wrecking Ball

Recently I did some web searches using the Google Trends web utility because I was curious what search data might show for terms related to the projects on my website and STEM education in general. My observation from the summer class I have been teaching is that the interest has diminished somewhat over the last few years although the traffic to my website is higher than it has ever been. Increased traffic to the website no doubt can be correlated to adding new material and my social media efforts to relate back to the website.  Locally I have not done any promotion of my website or projects for some time so that could explain some of the local decline.

Data provided by 

To use this free web utility just bring up . I noticed the information Google provides says “a percentage of Google web searches are analyzed”, I wonder how much that might detract from the accuracy?

I started searching for the acronym “STEM” but in the suggestion of search terms it was suggested to
use all the words, Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. There is a good reason to do that because just entering STEM could give results related to stem cells. I ran into this issue when I typed in “kites” and so many results came up for one month in 2010, turns out there was a movie by that name released around that time which spiked the results.

In demonstrating this utility to a friend I picked out someone with some celebrity status, “Miley Cyrus”. It was interesting to note there was a big spike in August 2013, my friend said that was the time Miley had come out with her song and video “Wrecking Ball”.  To verify this theory I entered “Wrecking Ball” and darn if the spike appeared in the same time segment.

Back to my searches related to STEM and project ideas; STEM spelled out the graph is pretty level until 2011 then it starts going up. September 2013 there is a huge spike and then it goes gradually up. “STEM education” starts a gradual climb upwards in 2007 until a peak the goes up and down until the present.  If anyone has ideas what has caused these trends, leave a comment.

What has been more puzzling to me is searching on the different project areas such as mousetrap cars, syringe hydraulic arms, and water rockets have shown a decline and then leveling off in recent years. As far as a spike in for STEM in 2013 there was a (STEM) Education 5-year Strategic Plan published in May 2013 on the Whitehouse website.


  1. I was going to suggest the mandates that instructors had been under to teach STEM classes teachers were all sent scrambling to find these programs. Teachers and school administrators are still scrambling to find programs. Now they are calling it STEAM as they have added "Art". I was shocked that students entering high school have never been instructed to use a ruler the most basic form of measurement, how can they perform any scientific measurements? Have any understanding of applied trig or geometry? Or under stand the graph you have shown. I think you will see constant slow upward swing in viewings as parents start looking to supplement the education their children are not receiving. I hope teacher will start to implement your projects. Also you see viewing increase as you add more projects due to transferring from one project page to another.