What is STEM?
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real applications.
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 design of roads and bridges, but also tackles the challenges of changing global weather as well as environmentally friendly changes to our home. Mathematics is in every occupation, every activity we do in our lives. By exposing students to STEM and giving them opportunities to explore STEM-related concepts, they will develop a passion for it and hopefully pursue a job in a STEM field. A curriculum that is STEM-based has real life situations to help the student learn. Programs like Engineering For Kids integrates multiple classes to provide opportunities to see how concepts relate to life in order to spark a passion for a future career in a STEM field. STEM activities provide hands-on and minds-on lessons for the student. Making math and science both fun and interesting helps the student to do much more than just learn the subjects, it helps children engage with them!
According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 9.8%. STEM degree holders statistically have a higher income even in non-STEM careers. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy, and are a critical component to helping the U.S. win the future. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. Innovation leads to new products and processes that sustain our economy. This innovation and science literacy depends on a solid knowledge base in the STEM areas. It is clear that most jobs of the future will require a basic understanding of math and science. Despite these compelling facts, mathematics and science scores on average among U.S. students are lagging behind other developing countries.
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.
What are STEM Skills?
STEM skills are individual skills needed to succeed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
For example, in science, you learn about the aerodynamics of an object using the four forces of flight: lift, weight, thrust, and drag. You can use technology to simulate experiments that can test the aerodynamics by easily changing the four forces. Engineering principles are used to design, build and test models. Finally, you use math skills to analyze and draw conclusions from experiments.
Essential STEM skills S2STEM works to develop and/or enhance in your kids are:
- Science & Math Skills
- Inquiry Skills
- Engineering & Design Thinking
- Critical Thinking
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