9 Great Answers to "What Is STEM and How Can I Use It?"

How to make it all fit together

STEM education, the one ring to rule all of K-12 teaching and learning, is seen as key to workforce and competitiveness challenges, important cognitive capabilities, and even citizenship in this still-new century.

As much as we believe in the efficacy of STEM education as a concept, figuring out exactly how to make it serve the needs of individual STEM-interested students can be hard.

For students to make good decisions about future courses of study and work, they need:

  • specific information applicable to their unique abilities and preferences.
  • help from teachers and parents to sift among the dozens of STEM majors and hundreds of STEM careers available.
  • timely guidance at critical decision-making junctures when their choices start to define the options open to them in college and the workplace.

Big news to come

Next week, we will be very excited to announce the launch of a project that seeks to meet all these needs. It’s a different kind of product, available in a different kind of way, for different kinds of uses than our current line of books and materials on engineering.

Where to go now

For now, we’ve gathered a set of resources, available for free online, that can help students, parents, and teachers make sense of STEM education and how it can fit into and extend their teaching and learning environments. The resources come from varied sectors of the STEM stakeholder community – government, non-profits, and education – and all present comprehensive materials relevant to all K-12 audiences.

From the government, here to help

These three National Science Foundation activities take different angles of approach to STEM education work:

 Funded by the National Science Foundation, Successful STEM Education has something for anyone and everyone involved in STEM learning activities.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, Successful STEM Education has something for anyone and everyone involved in STEM learning activities.

Non-profits at work

In different ways, these non-profit efforts work to create fertile environments for STEM learning to take place among their constituent communities:

 Set for announcement later this fall, the NSTA's Best STEM Books for K-12 promise to be interesting and useful.

Set for announcement later this fall, the NSTA's Best STEM Books for K-12 promise to be interesting and useful.

You know, for the teachers

University-based STEM resources tend to feature especially robust resources for teachers. Every teacher in the country is probably close to high-quality campus-based STEM help. Lesson plans, interesting reflections and thoughts from teachers themselves, and links to well vetted collections of classroom materials make these three higher education websites especially useful:

What online STEM resources do you like? Any to add in our categories here? Please do share.

And stay tuned for exciting news next week about our own STEM education project.

 


Eric Iversen is VP for Learning and Communications at Start Engineering. He has written and spoken widely on engineering education in the K-12 arena. You can write to him about this topic, especially when he gets stuff wrong, at eiversen@start-engineering.com

You can also follow along on Twitter @StartEnginNow.

Now available! A bilingual version of Dream, Invent, Create, for making engineering come alive in Spanish and English at the same time.

The Dream, Invent, Create Teacher’s Guide makes it easy to get started teaching elementary school engineering, even with no training in the field. And for any outreach or education program, check out What’s Engineering?, Dream, Invent, Create, and Start Engineering: A Career Guide.

Our books can help deliver an accessible, engaging picture of engineering to all kinds of K-12 audiences.