STEM is one of the newest buzz words in the education world. Schools are scrambling to offer STEM courses and become STEM-certified. There is a large push for STEM courses in schools. Yet, I argue, haven’t we always had STEM in our schools?
My science classes for the last six years have always included hands-on science activities, demonstrations, and lab experiments. Last year, we ended the year with Science Olympics–a series of challenges and activities related to different branches of science. One day, we made ice cream. We built free-standing structures out of two decks of cards. We built a boat made out a piece of aluminum foil and tested how much change it could hold before it sank. We designed, built, and tested egg-dropper parachutes. These activities are just a small sample of the various activities and challenges my students were given throughout the year.
Likewise, technology is a big presence in my school. My students use iPads to create videos, projects, and interact with various apps. We have laptops in the classroom for the same purpose. Each classroom is equipped with an interactive board to bring technology to the whole classroom. Math is taught at a high-level and integrated with various technological tools.
We’ve been doing STEM in our schools for a long time. We just didn’t call it by the fancy acronym.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.
(By the way, I’m no longer teaching science this year for the first time in six years. I’m teaching middle school language arts as well as working as the school technology coordinator.)