STEM Education is teaching and learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
While each of the STEM fields can be described and defined independently, they are best understood in relation to each other. Science is the study of the material world. Mathematics is how we quantify, visualize, and analyze aspects of the world. The body of knowledge created through science and mathematics is put to use by engineers to solve problems and develop solutions aimed at benefiting us as we live in the world; and technology is the modification of the world through the application of engineered solutions. Less than 200 hundred years ago these fields were not independent of each other. Specialization and the ability to connect and analyze larger and larger sets of data contributed to the isolation of STEM fields from each other. This has allowed us to make great gains in the fields of energy, human health and the environment. A rediscovery of STEM fields common roots and a shift in focus from specialization to broad overarching concepts may bring about a whole new wave of innovation and discovery.
If you are still struggling with why we need STEM when we have science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it might help to consider an analogy from the arts. An artist who specializes in oil painting, sculpture, or 3-D digital modeling is more broadly described as a visual artist and probably studied many visual arts and possibly some performance arts as a way to better understand their own art. The same is true in STEM, even though a STEM professional's title may be mechanical engineer, research analyst, actuary, or computer programmer, developing broader STEM experiences can improve understanding of one's own profession and connections between STEM fields. Just like all oil painters are visual artists, all biologists are STEM professionals.
Foundations of STEM
- STEM: A Primer The 2012 Congressional Report on STEM provides an easy to read federal description of STEM, STEM Programs and STEM challenges in the USA.
- Iowa STEM Education Roadmap
- U.S. Department of Education STEM Website
- STEM Attrition: College Students’ Paths Into and Out of STEM Fields
|For K-12 Students||For STEM Educators|
|For Undergraduates||For Faculty and Staff|