What is the STEM in STEM Education?

STEM education is about providing students with thinking and problem-solving skills to thrive in the 21stCentury workplace. At Pensmith STEM International we love teaching and learning through STEM Education. Let’s take a look at what the STEM is in STEM Education.  

The late 20thCentury saw the need for more people in the workforce in science and engineering fields.  Governments around the world started looking at how to respond to this. The result was the increasing focus on STEM education. Governments around the world, including Thailand, understand the importance of STEM Education in developing the skills needed for the jobs of the future.

STEM Education is not access to more science, technology, engineering or maths.  It is not just about science or maths competitions, although these, especially the Formula 1 in Schools STEM Challenge, can be a lot of fun!  STEM education is a movement towards increasing connectedness of subject areas, hands-on learning by doing, and learning in a real-world context.

How are STEM subjects linked?

If we look at each of the STEM subjects we can see how they are linked and why we learn them:

  • Science is about understanding our natural world.  As we learn the scientific process we discover ways of asking questions and then testing these questions to come to conclusions.  
  • Technology is the application of our scientific understanding.  We use a problem-solving approach, which stems from the Engineering Design Process, to look at a problem or challenge.  This starts with considering who the solution is intended for. Then defining the problem, and generating possible solutions. Following this, we make a prototype. Finally, testing whether this solution will work for the user.  
  • Engineering is all about problem-solving!  Using the Engineering Design Process students look at ways of understanding a problem to improve our lives.
  • Maths is the language and foundation for the development of logical thinking and reasoning which are used for problem-solving.  Maths helps us understand patterns for us to engineer new technologies, create models which help to develop solutions to real-world problems.

Therefore, the link between these core STEM areas is the foundation of developing our thinking and problem-solving abilities.

Pensmith STEM – Projects with Global Goals

At Pensmith STEM International we deliver our curriculum through projects based on themes related to the 2030 UN Goals for Sustainable Development. We talked about this in a previous post. These themes include Gender Equality, No Poverty, and Affordable and Clean Energy. Therefore, students are explicitly exposed to real-world problems and challenges. Consequently, demonstrating the relevance and importance of what they are learning. 

The Themed Projects, referred to as “STEM Projects”, have an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  Additionally, benefitting from the integration of other subject areas including English, Geography, History, Art, Music and ICT.  Click here for an example of a STEM project.

STEM Projects combine skills and knowledge from across the curriculum. This develops students’ ability to work in teams to promote their critical thinking and problem-solving skills through discovery and exploratory learning. Students develop and research ideas and work towards developing solutions to real-world problems.

How we decide on Projects

There are four principles which guide the development of worthwhile projects: 

1. Sustainable: Our Projects incorporate real-world problems through UN Sustainability Goals and focus on quality and sustainable solutions.
2. Transferable: Projects should allow students to develop skills, knowledge and understanding that is transferable for use in future projects and activities.
3. Engaging: Projects should be engaging, inspiring students taking an active role in completing the project. 

4. Meaningful: Projects develop and create meaningful products and outcomes which have impact on, and contribute to the community. 

Across the projects, students are expected to

  • Develop their 21st Century Skills
  • Develop skills relating to project management, time management, resource management and financial management. 

We believe that STEM Education is an outstanding way to prepare children for the future.  Please contact us if you want to find out more. 

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