STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It encompasses a vast array of subjects which help expose students to fundamentals of these disciplines. At the school level, the STEM approach aims to integrate concepts that are usually taught as separate subjects in different classes and emphasizes the application of knowledge to real-life situations. It is an is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in appropriate contexts.
It isn’t a theoretical concept. Students who are exposed to STEM based learning from early age are more likely to develop superior problem solving skills. A good STEM class models a real world problem in a class environment and allows students to spend time exploring all facets of the problem and it’s corresponding solution – right from ideation, design,modelling and execution. According to Hans Meeder,
STEM Education is a thoughtful, well-planned endeavor to:
- Develop a solid grasp of the fundamental concepts and knowledge underpinning the core disciplines of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics;
- Help students develop critical problem-framing and problem-solving skills in the context of STEM learning;
- Apply active learning strategies to develop deep learning;
- Help students understand the role of STEM skills and knowledge in modern careers;
Why is STEM important?
Stem is important because our world depends on it. The economy as well as our general well-being is all supported by advancements in science, technology, engineering, and math. It’s the underpinning of manufacturing, food production, health care, and so much more. Lets look at some facts –
- According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 9.8%.
- Over the past 10 years, jobs in STEM fields have grown three times as fast as jobs in non-STEM fields.
- STEM training in college is associated with higher earnings, whether working in a STEM occupation or not.
It is clear therefore that STEM education is beneficial for children not only for their present, but for their future. It is imperative that we expose children to programs that help them grow in their critical thinking and problem solving skills.