STEM education is a hot phrase in the education world. STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Have you been wondering about whether you should find ways to incorporate STEM education more directly into your or your child’s education? Have you already started encouraging technology and science education? If you want to find out more about STEM education, you should keep on reading. In this article, we’ll review the logic behind STEM education in more detail and describe some of its benefits.
What is STEM Education?
Science, technology, engineering, and math classes have been around for hundreds of years. But traditionally, they were taught in silos, and at the elementary or middle school level, technology or engineering may not have been offered at all. You took a math class, and then you take a physics class 4 hours later. As you enter high school, you may have the option to take a specialized class in engineering or computer science. But it tended to all be kept separate.
But in the “real world” technological change and innovation doesn’t work in silos. iOs app design, robotics, process automation, programming, digital marketing, etc. are all topics which tend to require at least an interest and working knowledge of multiple STEM topics. These topics are then integrated to solve problems and develop solutions for businesses or governments.
So the idea behind STEM education is to expose students to these subject areas in an applied fashion, to solve real-world problems and create interesting outcomes that build skills and spark an interest in STEM topics in the process.
What are the benefits of STEM education?
STEM Education Sparks Interest
In a previous article, we wrote about how finding ways to motivate students was critically important. Motivation is what provides the willpower and focus to keep practicing and building your skills. This is true for all types of skills, whether it’s math, English, baseball, or music. And if you aren’t interested in a topic, its hard to stay motivated. Perhaps the most important benefit of STEM education is that it tends to spark interest. A student sees how physics and math were used to, say, design a mini robot, or create a rudimentary electric motor. That leads to a renewed interest in math class. This, in turn, provides the motivation to study the most difficult homework problems for longer.
Builds Resilience and Problem Solving
STEM education activities include different attempts at creating things. You are likely to fail many times before you succeed. It has been shown scientifically that grit and resilience are some of the most important underlying drivers of academic and professional success. A typical STEM education experience provides an opportunity to experience failures and success and, in so doing, build their resilience and self-confidence.
And how do you reach solutions to STEM problems? Through critical thinking and problem solving. In a typical STEM environment, students must analyze problems and come up with practical and diverse approaches to solving them. Critical thinking skills are built naturally during the process of engaging in STEM education.
Fosters Curiosity and Creativity Around Technology
Of course, one of the key components of STEM education is learning different ways to use technology. In addition to sparking an interest in math or science or engineering, there is of course a direct benefit to learning how to code or work with apps at a young age. STEM education at a young age encourages the use of technology in solving complex problems or creating a more efficient process for getting something done.
There are many opportunities to experiment and explore when using STEM learning tools. Children are taught about the fundamental importance of taking risks and are encouraged to explore their capacities. In short, they are encouraged to be curious, and develop creative hypotheses about how their projects might work.
This is essential for developing children that can be part of places such as Bentham Science, just one example of the incredibly wide range of careers available to someone interested in science and technology. Creativity and ingenuity are critically important for careers in science, technology, or business. Creativity is what sets Bentham Science professionals apart.
Most STEM subjects are taught to groups of students working teams, because in fact, most businesses and many academic projects occur in teams. Most of the work requires analytical data collection and ways to ensure accurate recording of this data. The best way to achieve these goals is to have students working in teams to help each other. It teaches valuable skills about the importance of working with others to achieve your results. Moreover, it emphasizes the need for collaboration for projects and in some areas of life.
Almost all kids and young adults should at least experiment with elements of STEM education. It's hard to say what will spark an interest that leads to unexpected and rewarding academic or professional experiences. But even if a "spark" is not formed around STEM, the skills built around critical thinking and problem solving will be useful in almost any other academic professional pursuit.