What is STEM and Why is it Important?
Image Created by Bailey Brown, Ed by Dru Pikula
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM - They are all interrelated. While science can be thought of as the study of the ”found” and engineering the study of the “made,” they all reinforce each other. Math skills are necessary for both the study of science and engineering. Technology is not just computers but refers to instruments and tools that have been used for thousands of years and that have played a huge role in engineering and science as well as daily life.
“Good science teachers capitalize on the “aha” moments and work hard to help students not only understand science, but also foster a lifelong learning in science. Why is this so important? Because science is the one subject that encompasses everything in life and helps students be curious, ask questions, and make connections as to why the world exists as it does. It is the backdrop for understanding our world, and helps us to explain and appreciate it in new ways.” - Francis Eberle, Ph.D., is the executive director for the National Science Teachers Association. For more on Why STEM is Important by Frances Eberle
There is a high demand for young people with STEM skills. In order for the United States to maintain its competitive edge, STEM is crucial in the education of our students. Yet in a recent international assessment of 15-year-old students, the U.S. ranked 28th in math literacy and 24th in science literacy. Moreover, the U.S. ranks 20th among all nations in the proportion of 24-year-olds who earn degrees in natural science or engineering. ( See Visual Essay: STEM fields) We face a shortage of people in this country with strong STEM skills.
In 2010 President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report on STEM education in the U.S, "Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)"
Key recommendations include:
- support for the current state-led shared standards movement in math and science
- recruiting and training of 100,000 STEM teachers, with deep content knowledge and mastery of pedagogical skills to teach STEM
- use technology to drive innovation: create an advanced research projects agency for education
- students: create opportunities for inspiration through experiences outside the classroom
- create 1000 new STEM-focused schools over the coming decade
- ensure national leadership
PCAST's more recent report, Engage to Excel calls for producing an additional one million college graduates with degrees in STEM subjects.
In response to these needs, the Plymouth Library has put together lists of resources, including books, careers, and opportunities in the local community to expand knowlege in these fields.