STEM Curriculum

What is STEM? STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. We focus on these areas together not only because the skills and knowledge in each discipline are essential for student success, but also because these fields are deeply intertwined in the real world and in how students learn most effectively. STEM is an interdisciplinary and applied approach that is coupled with hands-on, problem-based learning.

Over the past few years, research has shown that both private and public sectors report most 21st-century workers require skills that many of today’s graduates do not have. Students today need more in-depth knowledge of math and science, plus the ability to integrate and apply that knowledge to solve the challenges facing our nation. Children who study STEM also develop a variety of skills that are essential for success: critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and innovation, communication, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, to name a few.

Why a STEM Curriculum? STEM activities allow students to integrate and apply knowledge of math and science in order to create technologies and solutions for real-world problems, using an engineering design approach. A 2014 study published by the America Society for Engineering Education identified several characteristics of quality STEM programs and labs:

The context is motivating, engaging, and real-world.Students integrate and apply meaningful and important mathematics and science content.Teaching methods are inquiry-based and student-centered.Students engage in solving engineering challenges using an engineering design process.Teamwork and communications are a major focus. Throughout the program, students have the freedom to think critically, creatively, and innovatively, as well as opportunities to fail and try again in safe environments.

How will STEM benefit my child in the future? A STEM-literate student is not only an innovator and critical thinker, but is able to make meaningful connections between school, community, work and global issues. A STEM-literate high school graduate can enroll in a college-level course of study in science, technology, engineering, and math without the need for remediation. STEM skills are increasingly necessary to engage in a knowledge-based economy. There is solid evidence to suggest that the fastest-growing and highest-wage jobs in future years will be in STEM fields and all employees will need to utilize STEM skills for problem solving in a wide range of industries.

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