WHAT IS STEM?

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WHAT IS STEM?

There is no commonly agreed-upon STEM definition. Experts generally do agree, however, that acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This program was started by Judith A. Ramaley, the former director of the National Science Foundation’s education and human-resources division.

Recently, STEM  education  has  strategic  importance  in  individual  student’s  education  and  countries’  global  presence. STEM generally supports broadening the study of engineering within each of the other subjects, and beginning engineering at younger grades, even elementary school. It also brings STEM education to all students rather than only the gifted programs. (Wikipedia)

Effective  STEM  instruction  depends  on  teachers’  professional  and  affective  abilities  to  deal  with  student   biases  about  science.  The emerging theory suggests that

there  are  two  core  elements  of  the  model:  teacher-led   teaching  and  student-directed  chapter  and  yearlong  projects. (Harmony, Research &  Policy)

PBL is the biggest component of STEM and is perhaps even more engaging to students because of its interdisciplinary content. Interdisciplinary curricula have been shown by several studies to support students’ engagement and learning (Taylor and Parsons, 2011),

KINDS OF STEM

  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
  • STREM (science, technology, robotics, engineering and mathematics); adds robotics as a field.
  • STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics); adds the arts as a field for a more holistic view
  • STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, art, and mathematics); adds both religion and arts.
  • STEAM (science, technology, engineering and applied mathematics); more focus on applied mathematics
  • GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science); used for programs to encourage females into these science fields.
  • STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine)

 

WHAT YOU MIGHT FIND in a STEM CLASSROOM

  • Students behaving as scientists: On a typical day, they may be recording observations, carrying out experiments, or conducting their own research. Learning is project-based and sometimes messy, but students learn by doing, not by rote memorization.
  • Connecting STEM learning to a career: To help students understand what kind of STEM jobs are available, schools may bring in tutors from local technology companies or organize internships at hospitals or research institutions.
  • Integrating with other subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math subjects are woven into other areas of the curriculum, with courses such as the “History of Science” or “Environmental History.”
  • Making use of technology: By taking quizzes on their laptops, entering data into spreadsheets, and creating graphs to illustrate the results of their experiments, students are using technology in their daily studies. STEM programs such as L&N STEM Academy in Knoxville, TN, participate in one-to-one programs through which students are given their own individual computer (or iPad, in this case) for their work. Teachers may have web pages featuring necessary classroom materials, which may also allow students to work ahead if they want to or review a lesson if need be.
  • Noise: Classrooms are not quiet and are often arranged so that students can sit and work in groups. This encourages collaboration as students discuss their work and challenge each other’s ideas. (Yednak, n.d.)

TYPES of STEM PROGRAMS

There are three primary types of STEM programs:

  1. A STEM specialty school: The entire school’s focus is on STEM and every student participates in a curriculum of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  2. A STEM program within a larger school: Some schools create STEM academies within their schools that allow interested students to study STEM in more depth.
  3. Residential STEM programs: For these intensive programs, students live on campus and attend a STEM school. (Yednak, n.d.)

BENEFITS of STEM PROGRAMS

In excellent STEM programs, students learn not just science, technology, engineering, and mathematical processes and practices but also across and beyond STEM disciplines. They develop competencies such as collaboration and communication skills necessary for success in college and career.

Schools encourage students by giving them project-based assignments on a regular and consistent basis where they have an opportunity to identify a problem, develop a solution, follow a process, and then design and market a product. In addition, students create and present project-based assignments outside of the traditional classroom that connect their learning to real-world applications. (Elgart, 2015)

 USEFUL STEM WEBSITES:

The Engineering Place:  This is a great site with summer program opportunities and activities that can be done at home.

Sources:

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