If you complete an internet search of the term "STEM," you get over 1.7 billion results. Many of these top search results are how to incorporate STEM into a learning curriculum, the importance of STEM in education, and even articles on how nonprofit corporations work to get students excited about STEM careers.
While the admission that STEM education is essential, understanding exactly what STEM is and how to work STEM into learning is another story. Today we aim to discuss how STEM is defined, the essential hallmarks of the category, and how to incorporate STEM into your curriculum. We also go over the importance of STEM learning in other fields of work and how STEM careers can benefit students.
What Exactly Is STEM?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. There is an overlap with STEAM, a view of STEM studies that include Art. While there is some debate over the "hard" and "soft" skills associated with STEM and STEAM, in general, these terms are umbrella terms for the study of scientific pursuits, including computer science, as well as formal mathematical and engineering studies.
As you can see, STEM covers a wide range of topics and studies. However, these topics share a foundation in analytical thinking, problem-solving, and logic, which can apply across several disciplines and studies. Overall, STEM encourages creative solutions, analytical thinking, and a curiosity about how the world works. With the incredible rate that technology progresses, studying STEM can give students a leg up in technological fields, and better prepare them for critical thinking across several areas of study, whether or not they go into one of the foundational topics that make up STEM.
How to Incorporate STEM into a Curriculum
While a survey of teachers reflected the importance of STEM in the classroom, the same study found a lack of consensus on how to teach STEM to students. With such a wide range of topics under one umbrella term, it's no surprise that teachers found that implementing STEM into their curriculum was far from a one-size-fits-all solution. In many cases, teachers can add STEM studies to any curriculum topic. Art history can bleed into a study of engineering, studying Ancient Egypt can translate into mathematical discussions about pyramids, and the list goes on.
In most cases, teachers can work STEM concepts into almost any curriculum by applying logical thinking and analytical problem-solving to the topic at hand. In addition, STEM experiments can jumpstart a love of learning and get kids interested in science. That's where GIGIL STEM Kits shine, as they provide all the materials you need to set up an engaging STEM curriculum for your students. By working STEM into your student's topics from the start, you encourage analytical reasoning while preparing them for the critical thinking they need to succeed at higher levels of education.
Educational Benefits of STEM
Not only does STEM encourage logical thinking, but it can also prove helpful for problem-solving and methodical coursework. Because STEM depends on the concept of integrating topics, having a fluid understanding of concepts can allow students to bring the logical approach found in scientific studies to their other subjects. Deduct reasoning benefits students in the classroom, and a baseline of computer technology knowledge is crucial to functioning in modern classrooms. One study found that students need a good understanding of STEM to prepare them for all careers, including non-STEM areas of expertise.
Lifelong Benefits of STEM
One of the critical parts of STEM is integrative learning. While science, math, technology, and engineering are all distinct fields, by allowing for overlap in the studies of each, students receive a wealth of information that can benefit them for the rest of their lives.
While many students will choose education and career paths outside of STEM fields, deductive reasoning and application of logic will serve them throughout their lives. Not only does an early study of STEM help with cognitive development, but it can also prepare students to analyze choices accurately in their adult lives and give them the information they need to make wise, rational decisions as they mature.
By combining the concepts of exploration and experience, STEM students are equipped as experienced problem solvers. In turn, these practical skills serve well in the real world and make for innovative employees and adults who can solve problems, think outside the box, and contribute to a better society. Studies have also shown that STEM studies contribute to communication and teamwork, essential tools for education and life in general.
Here at GIGIL, we know the importance of STEM in the classroom and provide countless resources to help teachers integrate STEM learning into their students' studies. From our informative articles to the GIGIL STEM subscription box, we are dedicated to providing well-rounded education resources for kids and teachers from all walks of life.
GIGIL STEM Subscription Boxes bring STEM Education to your doorstep, with 5 activities each month and all the supplies you need to complete them! Just open up your STEM Kit and go (easy)! We have been tested and awarded by Mom's Choice Awards, Parents' Picks, and The National Parenting Center. Along with our subscriptions, we are approved by charter schools and offer wholesale rates for groups or classrooms.