“Science – Technology – Engineering – Math”
What is a STEM Club? It is a club started by a group of parents interested in promoting the STEM subjects in a middle school context. Our goals are to:
- Stimulate student interest in “wanting to” rather than “having to” take further STEM related courses.
- Make STEM accessible to ALL students, not just the academic elite.
- Encourage students, especially girls, to experiment with these topics in a safe, collaborative, low-risk environment.
- Provide a student-centered, inquiry-based, project-based, real-world, and problem-focused learning environment that interconnects STEM subjects and highlights the ways that STEM integrates with subjects such as Art, Reading, Music, and PE.
- Introduce awareness of STEM fields and occupations, and to expose students to the emerging and rapidly evolving developments in these areas that will impact their future careers and the way in which we will live our lives in the 21st century.
- Bridge and connect in-school and out-of-school learning opportunities.
- Encourage competent, capable citizens in our technology-dependent, democratic society.
What Do You Do in STEM Club? Our motto is “Curiosity Unleashed”, and we use an unstructured, student-led process that asks participants to stretch their creativity and use their critical thinking skills. We’re envisioning a flexible, Montessori-like environment where each child drives the learning and exploration that they wish to pursue. Each week, we will have a variety of stations set up with projects or tools that the students can explore. This may include forensic science, engineering, 3D printing, food chemistry, coding, or a marble run. The possibilities are endless!
We will also have Chromebooks available for students to watch TEDtalks on a variety of different STEM subjects. This will enable them to be exposed to “out of the box” ideas, cutting edge technological developments, and exciting new discoveries.
Want to know more about STEM? Keep reading…
Into the “Weeds” of STEM (sorry, couldn’t resist)
Taken separately, the four STEM subjects are defined by the National Research Council as:
- Science is the study of the natural world, including the laws of nature associated with physics, chemistry, and biology and the treatment or application of facts, principles, concepts, or conventions associated with these disciplines.
- Technology comprises the entire system of people and organizations, knowledge, processes, and devices that go into creating and operating technological artifacts, as well as the artifacts themselves.
- Engineering is a body of knowledge about the design and creation of products and a process for solving problems. Engineering utilizes concepts in science and mathematics and technological tools.
- Mathematics is the study of patterns and relationships among quantities, numbers, and shapes. Mathematics includes theoretical mathematics and applied mathematics.
STEM disciplines identified by the National Science Foundation include engineering, mathematics, agricultural sciences, biological sciences, physical sciences, psychology, economics and other natural and social/behavioral sciences, computer science, and earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences.
But STEM education is more than just science, technology, engineering or mathematics; it is an interdisciplinary and applied approach that is coupled with real-world, problem-based learning. At this level, STEM education exemplifies the axiom "the whole is more than the sum of the parts."
“This bridging among the four discrete disciplines is now known as STEM. STEM education removes the traditional barriers erected between the four disciplines by integrating them into one cohesive teaching and learning paradigm. Today, new innovations and inventions tend to be made at the boundaries of these four disciplines, where they naturally overlap. 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.” – Source: The California STEM Learning Network