What is STEM?

Posted by Courtney Carmichael at 10/11/2016

In Tenakill and Hillside, teachers are engaging students with STEM activities. Tenakill has converted its computer lab into a STEM makerspace, filled with tools to build solutions to challenges. Hillside uses STEM to spark curiosity with learning. But what exactly is it? According to the NJ Department of Education (2015), “STEM Education is the use of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and their associated practices, to create student-centered learning environment in which students investigate, engineer solutions to problems, and construct evidence based explanations of real-world phenomena. STEM education promotes creativity and innovation, while developing critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills while students seek explanations about the natural world and improve the built world.” More simply, it creates critical thinking when faced with challenges in the STEM fields.

Will the investment into STEM education help prepare our students for STEM fields, which is considered to have shortages? It would be great. Professionals in STEM careers usually earn more money in a lifetime; however, if we create opportunities for critical thinking in STEM it may transfer to other domains. If we create lifelong learnings, that is our goal.