What is STEM?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM is important because it pervades every part of our lives.
Science is everywhere in the world around us.
Technology is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives.
Engineering is the basic designs of roads and bridges, but also tackles the challenges of changing global weather and environmentally-friendly changes to our home.
Mathematics is in every occupation, every activity we do in our lives.
STEM Education is more than just presentation and dissemination of information and cultivation of techniques. It is a process for teaching and learning that offers students opportunities to make sense of the world and take charge of their learning, rather than learning isolated bits and pieces of content. In the STEM environment, there is less emphasis on activities that demonstrate science content and a greater focus on those activities that allow students to engage in real world problems and experiences through project-based, experiential learning activities that lead to higher level thinking. Learning in a STEM environment compels students to understand issues, distill problems, and comprehend processes that lead to innovative solutions.
In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.
Who benefits from STEM?
Introducing STEM is vital while a child is developing foundation education habits in their first years of schooling. STEMs lessons incorporate integrated mathematics, sciences, engineering and technology, while introducing young minds to schools of scientific linear thinking, creative problem solving, inventiveness, and instilling the importance of collaboration and teamwork. The objective of educators is not to force new thoughts and ideas on students, but to allow the children to grow interests in subjects organically and developing their systematic approaches to problem-solving.
Programs outside of school can help children to see that STEM is more than a class to finish. Having activities that show real-life implication of STEM can pull together the ideas presented in school and help to show how they benefit our society and even our world as a whole. Children can see that what they are learning now is pertinent to their future and the future of the whole world, creating an interest often lacking when learning new concepts that do not seem to carry real-world application. Engineering For Kids, for example, offers a suite of STEM enrichment programs for children ages 4 to 14.