What is STEM exactly?

STEM – Science, Technology Engineering and Math

Starting with Engineering as the center of the universe, all the other subjects are supporting players. Scientists get busy and discover things that engineers use to provide a solution to a social need.

  • Science – observing, identifying, describing, experimenting
  • Technology – advancing, progressing, creating, achieving
  • Engineering – building, designing, making, constructing
  • Math – measuring, formulating, quantifying, computing
Science – visual representation

Science is…
Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge” – systematically builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Science seeks to explain the phenomena of the material universe.

In the 17th and 18th centuries scientists began to formulate knowledge in terms of laws of nature such as Newton’s laws of motion. The word “science” became increasingly associated with the scientific method itself, as a disciplined way to study the natural world, including physics, chemistry, geology and biology.

This is a really long list of links to branches of science. The diagram helps to understand the range of topics that the general term “science” covers.

The point we are making here is – although there is a lot of interesting stuff covered by the S in STEM, we wouldn’t know much about most of it without the E – Engineering.

  • Darnaby Kindergartners Learn Engineering (video 1:57) – kindergartners explain how engineering relates to the story of, “The Three Little Pigs.” These students are some of the first in the nation to begin benefitting from Darnaby Elementary School joining Project Learning Tree’s pilot program focused on a school-wide implementation of new curriculum involving STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

New approaches to Math

  • Jack Appreciates Math – textbook explores the various ways math is used in the routine activities that are part of everyday life. The book uses the story form to illustrate how a regular guy repeatedly encounters math and the need for math skills. It demonstrates how math is integrated into everything from personal finance, to nutrition and exercise, to scheduling. Calculating probability is linked to Powerball and Mega Millions. Modular arithmetic pops up in check digits, clocks and calendars, and personal data.

Optional extras – more than Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

  • A – Arts – poetry and robotics
  • H – Health – STEM-H
  • E – Education – education is an important component of any program, but should remain in the background with the focus on core subjects, particularly Engineering, as it is often overlooked.
  • G – Geography
  • x – STEMx: For years we have referred to STEM education — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — but in today’s flat world the definition must be much broader. It must include disciplines like computer science, nanoscience and biotech as well as critical skills such as collaboration, creativity, communication, problem solving, inquiry, computational thinking and global fluency – expand the definition to encompass the wide range of skills and knowledge requisite for success in the high-tech world of work and global citizenship. .

Sample curriculum, lesson plans, project, activities

  • use their skills and imagination to create new ideas
  • Every Drop Matters: Providing Access to Clean Water – demonstrate how much of the Earth is covered by water, three-fourths, water-treatment systems, experiments with the rate of water flow, conservation methods
  • technology design loop – guide to problem solving – asking what’s the issue, brainstorming solutions, challenge to create the best outcome, test it out and finally evaluate the result.
  • project-based learning – team work, collaboration
  • presenting ideas – writing, presentations, public speaking

Engineering ideas

  • knowledge, testable explanations, predictions, material universe, laws of nature, scientific method, physics, chemistry, geology, biology