Let’s start this post with a basic with a question.
Why is STEM so important?
Without sounding too grandiose, STEM is most assuredly going to change the world. In fact, it already has. If you’re reading this on your tablet, laptop, desktop or smartphone, you are experiencing the beautiful orchestration of science, technology, engineering and math. And just think… the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs is sitting in our classrooms at this very moment. To help all of our students access the wonderful world of STEM, we must provide learning experiences that will foster the next generation of innovators, educators, and leaders.
The STEM Education Coalition asserts that STEM education must be “elevated as a national priority,” as this type of instruction is linked to our nation’s economic prosperity and ability to compete in the global market. We hear echoes of this sentiment as well within the Common Core State Standard mission statement, challenging teachers to increase rigor and real-world application of content for K-12 students.
Now, as a classroom teacher or principal, you may ask yourself: What does this initiative have to do with me? In a word: everything. STEM education is not just about more math classes, one-to-one iPads, or AP Physics labs. It’s about creating a student-centered, inquiry-based classroom where students discover the natural (and real-world) connection between science, technology, engineering, and math. And we can add reading and writing to this list, as well, as we know that literacy skills are the foundation to all other content areas.
Our youngest students are all scientists at heart. They are constantly wondering “why,” experimenting and exploring the world around them, and making new connections from their ever-expanding knowledge. As educators, we want to keep this flame of curiosity burning bright in our students throughout their entire lives. Our goal is to make STEM a classroom priority for all teachers. To achieve this, we have to take our place as the innovators, educators, and leaders of this generation.