S.T.E.M. Education

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-world applications.

Though the United States has historically been a leader in these fields, fewer students have been focusing on these topics recently. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of high school students are interested in a STEM career and have proven proficiency in mathematics. Currently, nearly 28 percent of high school freshmen declare an interest in a STEM-related field, a department website says, but 57 percent of these students will lose interest by the time they graduate from high school.

As a result, the Obama administration announced the 2009 "Educate to Innovate" campaign to motivate and inspire students to excel in STEM subjects. This campaign also addresses the inadequate number of teachers skilled to educate in these subjects. The goal is to get American students from the middle of the pack in science and math to the top of the pack in the international arena. girls with robots

The importance of STEM education 

All of this effort is to meet a need. According to a report by the website STEMconnector.org, by 2018, projections estimate the need for 8.65 million workers in STEM-related jobs. The manufacturing sector faces an alarmingly large shortage of employees with the necessary skills — nearly 600,000. The field of cloud computing alone will have created 1.7 million jobs between 2011 and 2015, according to the report. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2018, the bulk of STEM careers will be:

Computing – 71 percent
Traditional Engineering – 16 percent
Physical sciences – 7 percent
Life sciences – 4 percent
Mathematics – 2 percent

Blended Learning

What separates STEM from traditional science and math education is the blended learning environment and showing students how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life. It teaches students computational thinking and focuses on the real world applications of problem-solving. As mentioned before, STEM education begins while students are very young:

TMSA - Elementary school - STEM education focuses on the introductory level STEM courses, as well as awareness of the STEM fields and occupations. This initial step provides standards-based structured inquiry-based and real-world problem-based learning, connecting all four of the STEM subjects. The goal is to pique students' interest in them wanting to pursue the courses, not because they have to. There is also an emphasis placed on bridging in-school and out-of-school STEM learning opportunities.

TMSA - Middle school - At this stage, the courses become more rigorous and challenging. Student awareness of STEM fields and occupations is still pursued, as well as the academic requirements of such fields. Student exploration of STEM-related careers begins at this level, particularly for underrepresented populations.

TMSA - High School - At the high school level, the program of study focuses on the application of the subjects in a challenging and rigorous manner. Courses and pathways will be available in STEM fields and occupations, as well as preparation for post-secondary education and employment. More emphasis is placed on bridging in-school and out-of-school STEM opportunities.