June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1300.1 - 12.1300.10
STEM is Not Just a Four Individually Lettered Word
We have all heard combinations of the words science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM bantered about throughout the halls of education. Unfortunately, most of the bantering takes place in individual, academic disciplines or silos with like-minded colleagues, all shaking their heads as to why the folks in the other silos just do not understand their approach. This is not surprising. As we specialize, we become more focused in “our own true and tried methods of teaching” and dig deeper into these silos. However, teachers that may have influenced their students the most were likely passionate about their field and the courses they taught. They worked hard to show the relevance and interconnectedness to what their students were learning. These teachers were there to wet their students’ whistle by demonstrating how important it was to finish and succeed in all STEM-related sequences, not just the ones they were teaching. These are the teachers who should define STEM and who are needed to excite, not just the top 10% of students, but the next 70% of the entire student population.
One of the biggest challenges facing our nation today is the dwindling number of American scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians at a time when we are facing increased competition from other countries. This critical shortage of STEM talent in the United States is occurring when technology reinvents itself every few years. Our country’s economic competitiveness and prosperity depend on innovative STEM- educated young people that work together to solve our problems effectively and creatively.
Proposed herein is a strategy to weave STEM throughout the secondary curricula to engage and excite students. The strategy introduces engineering concepts into the curricula beginning at the middle school level. Then, in high schools, math and science teachers would be cross-trained in engineering and technology content so that they can inform and encourage their “mainstream” students of the benefits in pursuing these fields of study; in addition, these teachers would incorporate an activities-based, project-based and problem-based learning approach to engage and to stimulate student interest in the strategies used in engineering and technology. The model for this action is the Project Lead The Way® pre-engineering courseware. At the college level, the collaborative approach to learning and to problem-solving would be offered in summer camps which would encourage interaction between university and high school STEM faculty. For this approach to work, STEM must be embraced by all disciplines as not a single, stand-alone entity, but as an integral building block to a successful career for the student.
Brower, T., & Grimsley, R., & Newberry, P. (2007, June), Stem Is Not Just A Four Individually Lettered Word Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1975
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