Sometimes educators need help communicating with parents why we’re doing what we’re doing with students. Afterall, many parents might say, “School was good enough for me 20 years ago…” or some such questioning. As our friend, Kevin Honeycutt says, “Politicians are telling our stories–and they’re telling it wrong!” So let’s get the information out.
Below is a guide to start your conversation with families about why STEM education is important.
STEM? What’s that?
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and we predict that if you haven’t heard about STEM at your school yet, you will be hearing about it soon, because STEM is a great way to get kids highly excited and interested in those topics at school (and at home too, fyi).
But we’ve always had these classes in school. What’s the big deal?
Have we? You took an engineering class in middle school? What did “Technology” look like when you were in school? You learned how to program robots of all shapes and sizes? You learned how to code websites? Because I didn’t.
See, what makes STEM different is that it’s really pushing these very-related concepts together, integrating what used to be subjects taught in isolation to mimic more of what we see in careers outside of school. Kids are learning how STEM subjects are related not only to each other, but to the general world around us. And to the cool careers that come with them!
Why are my schools and teachers talking about it all the time?
Because the fact is that the US needs more people in STEM-related jobs. And the job market is lucrative, to say the least! Read here to see just some of the realities about STEM in America.
What should I expect from these types of classes and projects for my child?
You should see your students working, building projects, and experimenting. You’ll see them playing (working) with robots, computers, soldering kits, circuits, and all sorts of other cool things we used to have as toys and garage-hideouts. You will see them having fun in school as they learn concepts that haven’t been addressed in American schools in many, many years. This is about more than being a test-taking machine.
And in their play, teachers will help them identify the real learning that goes on scientifically and mathematically. They’ll see the engineering and technology that is utilized in everyday and futuristic stuff. Yes. Futuristic. Great STEM programs have kids inventing and problem-solving every minute.
My kid is a good kid, but s/he’s no genius. Are these classes for him/her?
Absolutely. There are many types of job in STEM-related careers. And there are always specialized talents that are needed in each one. Basically, there’s pretty much something for — well, if not everyone, then most everyone. Check out the careers links below.
You’ll also see a good push to have women and minorities get involved in the STEM field because currently, these groups are sorely underrepresented and could offer terrific job satisfaction for people of all types.
(the sun means “bright outlook” and the leaf is a result of a “green-economy”