If you’re like me, you having a difficult time navigating the education system and understanding the future of your child’s education. I’m rooting for EVERYONE… the teachers, the Homeschooler, the honorary teachers, the families, and the extended families to all prevail out of COVID-19 and 2020. We got this!
I cried real tears when I heard a family member’s senior year was canceled and all of the resources that are normally available were temporarily suspended due to the Coronavirus 2019. Not only the experience of Senior Year was taken away from her, but the school’s annual career day was also impacted. Events like the Senior Career Day are one of the benefits of having access to educational institutions for families since it’s a final “deliberate” push to spark interest in STEM Careers.
Your child’s future path is made up of endless possibilities and the unknown. As a parent, I like to expose my boys to as many areas I can think of to help them find out what they like and dislike, in hopes to focus on those possibilities. Whether they are interested in STEM Careers or not, the benefits earned from the different stages and progression of STEM education are valuable.
WHAT IS STEM EDUCATION?
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s STEM Education Strategic Plan, published in December 2018, STEM education is the idea of educating students in four disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — in an infused high-level curriculum. STEM integrates the disciplines, using a real-world application, into a cohesive learning paradigm.
The goal of STEM education is to build foundations for STEM Literacy by ensuring that every American has the opportunity to master basic STEM concepts, including computational thinking, and to become digitally literate. A STEM-literate public will be better equipped to handle rapid technological changes.
STEM education in Elementary – STEM education focuses on the introductory level STEM courses, as well as awareness of the STEM fields and occupations. This initial step provides standards-based structured inquiry-based and real-world problem-based learning, connecting all four of the STEM subjects. The goal is to pique students’ interest into them wanting to pursue the courses, not because they have to.
STEM education in Middle School – At this stage, the courses become more rigorous and challenging. Student awareness of STEM fields and occupations is still pursued, as well as the academic requirements of such fields. Student exploration of STEM-related careers begins at this level, particularly for underrepresented populations. Exposure to challenges that require initiative and creativity.
STEM education in High School – The program of study focuses on the application of the subjects in a challenging and rigorous manner. Courses and pathways are now available in STEM fields and occupations, as well as preparation for post-secondary education and employment. More emphasis is placed on bridging in-school and out-of-school STEM opportunities.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STEM, STEAM, STREAM?
STEM: is the educational curriculum that provides a comprehensive approach to learning.
STEAM: incorporates arts to enable students to discover the artists within them.
STREAM: incorporates reading and writings. Some experts states “R” stands for Robotics and others states it stands for Religion, but both are unofficial.
5 STEPS FOR PARENTS TO GET INVOLVED WITH STEM?
First: Start with your child’s educational institution or directly with the teacher. If homeschooling, check with the current curriculum provider for STEM products for your child’s age range.
Second: Have a conversation with your child. They are the experts in their interest, even as it changes daily, weekly, and annually.
Third: Encourage your child to explore their interest and join them along the ride. Failures will happen, but we as parents are equipped to catch and help them look at different things differently.
Fourth: Seek outside resources for tutors, programs, challenges, educational deep-dives.
Fifth: Believe in yourself and your child’s ability to learn and grow from step 1 throughout the entire journey.
In conclusion, STEM education is vital and broad but only some experts in the field feel when it includes Arts and Reading it’s optimal. There are lots of resources available for families to explore but sometimes can become overwhelming. Take your time, have patience, and listen to your child. No matter if your child is 6 weeks old to graduating high school this upcoming year you can introduce, explore, and enhance STEM education as a family and as a team with your education institution or program.
Let us know on our Social Sites – Where are you in your STEM education journey?