Opinion

What Is STEM? STEM Education, isn’t that what we already do?

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“There’s a way to do it better, find it”- Thomas Edison

Recently I have been getting a lot of questions by people who stop me at the gym, on the street or discussions after recognition has been made about my recent TV appearances. The common theme through these discussions is the question; “What exactly is STEM?” “ Don’t we already do that already with what we teach our students?” I have written lots of articles about STEM and realized listening to them all that I hadn’t adequately addressed this issue. I forgot one of my basic tenets in teaching is scaffolding, build a foundation and lay more blocks upon that.

Here we go —

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Activities that are STEM-based integrate these four areas of learning. For example, a block-building activity can involve experimenting and learning about the natural world (Science), using tools to measure (Technology), solving a problem during building (Engineering), and comparing sizes of blocks (Math). Industry leaders across the world are striving to make it a top priority to boost these skills in STEM education from the first day of school and onward. They are all investing into programs and even Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau are making it part of their own agendas to increase funding for programs and opportunities for youth.

In STEM Education, we emphasize engagement with students across all of these subjects, especially on integrating these subjects in various ways. An instance of this is when a science lesson incorporates math and engineering, also when a math lesson incorporates the use of technology. There is a plethora of these combinations and they are remarkable on how wonderfully they engage our students. STEM education brings curriculum to life; stressing the relevance of learning in the real world and makes students understand problem solving in a revolutionary way.

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