Posts Tagged ‘Best Practices’

STEM Essential Elements to STEMify the Classroom

Friday, September 25th, 2015

AUTHOR: Dr. Grant Kessler,  STEM Specialist – Curriculum & Instruction

An important goal for all students — regardless of interest in focused STEM content — is STEM literacy. There is an increasingly technical aspect to almost everything in which we engage, both at work and in our daily lives; students will need STEM literacy to be successful in their personal and professional futures. Therefore, STEM literacy should be emphasized across all grade levels and subject areas.

What does this means for education? As educators, we must prepare our students to thrive in a STEM-based world by integrating STEM into our work whenever possible. Students must learn how to appropriately utilize the Internet, demonstrate the confidence to learn new technologies, be mathematically functional and able to apply scientifically-sound thinking, and be capable and self-sufficient problem-solvers.

Well-designed learning experiences encourage students to quickly see the importance and applicability of STEM; students and educators should view the STEM components as working in tandem. A STEM-ified lesson is not just science or technology or engineering or math; it includes notions of science and technology and engineering and math. Importantly, not every component has to be in every lesson. Instead a blending of the four components, which allow students to make real-world connections, is what works well in practice.

STEM education should provide an engaging and problem-driven process for students to learn. This approach is effective and transferable across all content areas for all students. Schools can improve and encourage STEM literacy in a number of ways, from a single classroom to a district-wide initiative. The key element of STEM learning is the integration of the four core subjects into larger, cross-disciplinary projects designed for students to solve problems and gain real world insights. We seek to avoid imparting fragmented pieces of knowledge with no application.

Implementing STEM into the classroom begins with organizing and delivering learning experiences in such a way that students understand the connections within and between content areas, see relevance in their learning, and build capacity through authentic utilization of 21st century and content skills. The STEM Essentials provide the platform from which teachers can STEMify student learning while using a variety of delivery approaches.

STEM ESSENTIALS & THEIR KEY COMPONENTS

By implementing STEM best practices, educators can provide meaningful real-world learning experiences that go beyond the classroom and become transferable skills that are necessary for students to be competitive in the global economy. Explore the STEM Essentials & Their Key Components document and consider how they can be used to align current instruction with the end goal of STEMifying instruction.

Transformation Central Texas STEM Center will publish a straightforward and practical process for educators to STEMify learning for all students in the book, “A Blueprint for Building a STEM Program: Integrate, Innovate, Inspire.” For more information visit TCentralSTEM.org. This resource is highly recommended for educators of all content areas, pre-K through grade 12.

For resources, strategic planning and implementation support, contact Grant Kessler (grant.kessler@esc13.txed.net) at Region 13.