STEM isn’t just about science, technology, engineering, and math: it’s about developing a lifelong love and passion for learning and emphasizes questioning, logic, experimentation, innovation, and, above all, intellectual curiosity about the world around us – and the possibilities and opportunities we have to affect positive change. Sounds intense! And it is, but with excellent school STEM programs, it’s also fun, engaging, and exciting.
Finding a Great STEM Program in Elementary Schools
STEM education is advancing by leaps and bounds. How do you find the right fit for your child? Look for:
- An enduring passion for scientific thinking. Does the school have a passion for STEM? Do they understand its importance – and do they provide their staff with the support and resources they need to build strong STEM programs?
- Top notch teachers. A terrific teacher can capture the imagination and minds of students, even with just some baking soda and vinegar. They can fan the flames of scientific thinking and turn curious minds to innovative paths. Instead of lectures or “read chapter 2 in your textbook,” these teachers inspire the minds of their students.
- Project-based learning. STEM begs for experimentation, for trial and error, for hypotheses and proof. It looks for failure – which turns to new questions, new experiments, new conclusions. Project-based learning emphasizes a hands-on approach in which learners engage by doing it themselves.
- A well-rounded curriculum. STEM is not just robots or artificial intelligence (AI). It encompasses everything from algebra and architecture to the human body. A comprehensive curriculum provides a wide range of learning experiences and opportunities.
- The equipment/resources to make it work. We know that amazing teachers can work wonders, but when they have great resources at their disposal, they can do even more to reach students and promote STEM skills.
Rosarian Academy’s Freitas STEM Innovation Center, for example, features state-of-the-art equipment, including a video green screen wall, 3-D printer, laser cutter, EV3 kits, BeeBots and much more. But it’s not the equipment: it’s how students use it.
With a focus on problem- and project-based learning, students receive hands-on experience solving problems, working collaboratively and independently, and putting the scientific method to use in real time.
School STEM programs are continually advancing – and you can support your young scientist, technologist, engineer, and/or mathematician at home. It all starts with fostering a love of learning. It starts with questions and curiosity. And it never ends!