Today, November 8th is National STEM/STEAM Day, as declared by the show Project Mc2. With so much of teachers’ focus on reading and ELA instruction, science (as well as technology, engineering, the arts, and math) sometimes doesn’t get the time and attention it should in today’s classrooms, even though these subjects overlap. And with demand for workers in STEM fields growing fast, it’s never been more important for students to leave school prepared to work in these fields. National STEM/STEAM Day is here to help with that!
Tell me more about STEM/STEAM/STREAM.
STEM, STEAM, and now STREAM are acronyms that stand for science, technology, (reading), engineering, (arts), and math. The idea behind STEM, STEAM, and STREAM education is that it’s better to teach students “in an interdisciplinary and applied approach” than to separately teach each of these subjects. STEM, STEAM, and STREAM education “integrates [these subjects] into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.”
STEM, STEAM, and STREAM education are all important enough that the US Department of Education under President Obama prioritized it, and recently, tech giants including Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have committed to putting $300 million toward supporting STEM education in the US.
And what about National STEM/STEAM Day?
Historically, fewer girls and women have pursued studies and jobs in STEM fields, so along with raising awareness about STEM education, there should also be a greater focus on getting more girls interested in these subjects. With that in mind, National STEM/STEAM Day was inspired by Project Mc2, an online streaming series that features a group of smart, hard-working girls that work for an organization called NOV8 (pronounced innovate, and the reason for this landing on November 8). This show focuses on STEM/STEAM education, and this day was started to bring more attention to it, particularly with young girls.
How can I incorporate STEM education into my classrooms?
There are many ways to do this, some big, and some small. The organization Pets in the Classroom recommends getting a class pet, to help students stay engaged during instruction and to learn about animal behavior and biology. Or your school could start a robotics program, which is a fun way to get students thinking more about science, engineering, and computing (and has proven to be very popular at other schools). Offering a computer science or coding course is another way to do this, or more simply, have your students spend a little time each day learning the basics of coding. Online and blended learning resources and programs can also help schools overcome the lack of money, lab equipment, and qualified teachers to allow students to participate in virtual experiments and virtual field trips. If you’re looking for more ideas, engage with others on Twitter and Facebook using #STEM.
Once you’ve learned about STEM education and you’re interested in finding ways to strengthen it in your schools, find out more information about grants for STEM programs here. And if you’d like to offer more STEM courses or find out about resources to help your teachers incorporate more STEM education into their instruction, check out Edgenuity.com.
Davis, M. R. (2017, June 12). Science learning no longer bound by limits of school laboratories. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/06/14/science-learning-no-longer-bound-by-limits-of-labs.html?cmp=eml-enl-eu-news2
Edmodo Blog. (2016, November 8). 5 resources for an inspiring STEM/STEAM day. Retrieved from https://blog.edmodo.com/2016/11/08/5-resources-for-an-inspiring-stemsteam-day/
Hom, E. J. (2014, February 11). What is STEM education? Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/43296-what-is-stem-education.html
Kang, C. (2017, September 26). Tech firms add $300 million to Trump Administration’s computer science push. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/technology/computer-science-stem-education.html
Pets in the Classroom. (2016, November 8). Pets in the Classroom celebrates National S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. Day. Retrieved from http://www.petsintheclassroom.org/pets-in-the-classroom-celebrates-national-s-t-e-m-s-t-e-a-m-day/
Pietrowski, A. (2017, August 14). The history of STEM vs. STEAM education (and the rise of STREAM). Retrieved from https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/08/history-stem-vs-steam-education-and-rise-stream
Project Mc2. (2015, November 6). National S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. Day | Smart Is The New Cool. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA_LVKAsvZw