STEM is the latest buzzword in Canadian education. But what exactly is STEM (or STEAM?) and why is it important in the classroom? We've broken down STEM down and compiled our knowledge to help you understand this quickly emerging pedagogy.
What is STEM?
STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. What distinguishes STEM curriculum from traditional math and science education is the interdisciplinary and applied approach to teach students the four disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
STEM requires a blended learning environment combined with real-world applications. Through STEM education, students also learn problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills in fun and interesting ways.
As conversations around STEM grew, the acronym STEAM emerged. STEAM education uses the same principles (an interdisciplinary and applied approach to learning) as STEM education but expands the disciplines to include Arts. While the discussion is still on-going it is important to note this emergence of two schools of thought: STEM and STEAM.
Why is STEM important in the classroom?
From the design of our cities to our health, STEM fields impact every component of our everyday lives. While the list of STEM-related fields is extensive, some common STEM areas include: life sciences, accounting, civil engineering, psychology, computer programming, robotics, physics, and statistics. As the fastest growing industries, and often the best paid, STEM-related industries also offer the best career opportunities for those entering the workforce.
Today, over 50 per cent of Canadian secondary students abandon STEM courses before graduation. Yet, approximately 70 per cent of Canada's top jobs require some knowledge of STEM (Canada 2067). Exposing students to STEM through a well-rounded curriculum sparks curiosity for and creates a solid foundation in STEM, positioning students for a successful future.
To best equip students for their future in the workforce, it is important to teach them STEM. To do so, it's important to have teachers who have enough knowledge and support to do so.
To support educators and improve learning, we at Fair Chance Learning offer a number of STEM-focused professional development learning opportunities. From Ignite Talks to structured courses, we implore you to to explore the learning possibilities that STEM has to offer students.