What is STEM Education and why all the fuss? S.T.E.M., as you probably know, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It’s a school curriculum that contains these subjects and how they interface with one another. And the fuss comes from a significant number of people demanding we pay more attention to these subjects in our schools.
The STEM curriculum is an integrated one. One where there is a cross-over between the STEM subjects. The Bricks 4 Kidz franchise, for example, is an educational program for kids that teaches math using engineering principals. Students can start as early as age 4 and by the time they reach high school they have a very good understanding of these four critical subjects. Those that stick with a STEM curriculum not only have a better grasp of the material they also develop a keen interest in these subjects. Plus, they have excellent career possibilities. Starting early in a child’s life is very important if not critical.
What is STEM Education?
The term was coined in 2001 by Judith Ramaley. She was part of a group working on a curriculum to bolster the fields of science, math, engineering and technology. The acronym turned out to be SMET.
Ramaley suggested the order of subjects be changed to produce the acronym STEM. It looks like she sold her point by saying that technology and engineering are held up by the book-ends of science and math. She made her sale, STEM it is. Ramaley has furthered her argument saying that STEM is becoming STEAM. The “A” stands for the Arts. Engineering design is fit into an art design to make a structure appealing to the eye. What is STEM Education? There you have a thumbnail sketch of what STEM education is.
What is STEM Education – Definition?
It will be beneficial to briefly look at the four, perhaps five, subjects in question. What is STEM education, or STEAM education, may be better understood by reviewing the importance of each subject.
Science The work of Science is done with the systematic pursuit of knowledge derived from observation, study and experiments. Science studies the world of nature.
Technology Technology takes the results or lessons learned from science and applies them to meet or solve any number of problems.
Engineering Engineering takes the knowledge learned from scientific practices and applies them to certain disciplines. From this we have engineering categories like civil engineering and electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering. They are all involved with the design of products with an end result of solving a given problem.
Art When we look at how the telephone has developed we can see the STEM disciplines at work. Our “brick” size early mobile phone has developed into a pocket size phone with a computer included. While engineering is involved in the mechanics of how they work there is a lot of Art design involved in its appearance. Art is also easily seen in skyscrapers, bridges, tools and many other structures.
Mathematics Using numbers and symbols math shows relationships between quantities, numbers and forms or shapes. Math also has a number of categories that deal with relationships of different things and in different ways. What is STEM Education? It is the coordination of these four subjects. Four subjects plus Art = STEAM. The interaction of these disciplines working together are as critical today as the 3 R’s were in previous generations.
What is STEM Education? Why the fuss? Is there a Shortage of Graduates?
Student interest in these subjects have diminished in recent years. Although the world relies heavily on these disciplines students have been staying away from them. At least US students have been reluctant to study STEM subjects. Many reports indicate that China leads the pack in the number of STEM graduates. However most reports seem to agree the number of US STEM graduates are on the decline. Over 2/3rds of STEM graduates in the USA are foreign students, that is to say they are from foreign countries.
The decline of US STEM graduates who acquire STEM related work may be due to the quality of the performance of students in the classroom. Companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple and others of like quality companies want hard workers with top classroom results.
What is STEM Education Solution?
Early enrollment may provide the best answer. By early we mean at 4 or 5 years old! As shocking as that may be there are STEM oriented programs where preschoolers are welcomed. There are many STEM oriented pre-school programs. You may not find them at the local elementary school. However STEM curriculum education programs are available in a number of educational franchises.
The mind of a 4 to 8 year old is open to learn and to learn quickly. How many question do they typically ask in the span of one day? Why? Oh yes, WHY? Is one of their favorite questions. Their minds are active and receptive to learning language. They are also open to STEM subjects when presented properly and in an appealing manner.
Have a look at Engineering For Kids. If there is a franchise in your area visit them. If not, think seriously about starting one. They accept students from age 4 to 14.
What is STEM education? Engineering For Kids uses a hands-on approach with their students to design and build structures, rockets and roller-coasters. The kids love it and want more. STEM language and concepts are introduced and taught in a fun appealing atmosphere. These kids look forward to learning and they excel at an early age. What is Stem education? Engineering For Kids have put it together and have an excellent STEM program.
Below is a list of a number of STEM oriented education franchises. Not all accept preschool age. All are set-up to offer after-school programs. Some have a day-care, teaching program. You can go to an individual article on each one to learn the specifics of their program. Click on the blue highlighted name for a link to the franchise you wish to see more information.
Related Articles that answer the question: What is STEM Education?
These are STEM education programs – franchises with a STEM curriculum that teach any one or more of the STEM subjects. We will be updating this site in the future with reviews of additional STEM oriented franchises. Following are programs that focus on two or more STEM subjects.
Every class approaches creative solutions to a different engineering problem. Students can begin learning STEM subjects and how they work together as early as age 4 and through to age 14.
Using Legos structures robots and many other structures are designed and built while teaching engineering concepts and math. Students are enrolled from ages 3-12.
Students 3-12 find solutions in building bridges over rough waterways or a space and other challenges. Designing and building structures teaches engineering, math and creative thinking skills.
Science and engineering are the focus here for students age 4-12. Math and technology is also learned and how these disciplines work together
While learning computer skills all of the STEM subjects are taught at the level of understanding of each child. Students here range from age 2 to 12+.
This is a tutoring program helping students both in their regular homework and with their own proprietary curriculum. Tutoring is focused on Science, Math and Language Arts for students K-12. They also offer a special program to gifted students.
The specialties here are in the areas of Math and Science. This is one of the few education franchises that offers online student services. We expect eTutoring will certainly grow as studies show that a combination of a live interaction with a teacher plus online teaching produces the best results.
What is STEM Education?
STEM is an interdisciplinary program using all of the subjects to be a true STEM curriculum. Since that is difficult to find we have included those programs here that focus on any one of the STEM subjects.
At the very least Eye Level focuses on one of the STEM subjects, mathematics. They also provide tutoring and skill enhancement in reading and writing. Their focus is also on critical thinking and the improvement of academic skills. Age level here is from 3-14 years of age.
Mathematics and reading skills are the focal points at Kumon for preschool to the 12th grade. Kumon is known as the largest after school program for their disciplines in the world.
Computer and technology are taught here which is built around updated software as it occurs. Computer literacy is taught to match the understanding of the student. This is an important part of their curriculum.
Cognitive thinking skills, improved Reading and spelling and proficiency in math are the focus of tutoring offered here. Their LiftOff program is designed to give preschool to grade one students enhanced learning skills. They have programs for all ages.
This is a one subject program – mathematics. Enrollment is accepted for students from pre-kindergarten to pre-calculus.
At last count there were 10 programs offered. Several are in mathematics divided up according to the students age. Programs are offered for kids ages 6 months to 8+.
What is STEM Education? A student with a well rounded STEM education, who has good grades, is paid about 25% more than those without STEM knowledge. STEM oriented Jobs in many countries are readily available.
STEM is the new 3 R’s.
What is STEM Education? Hopefully we have provided an understanding of the subject here.