The STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Challenge

Recent efforts aimed at better articulating science and mathematics standards have moved teaching and learning in these disciplines forward.  The subject matter remains as interesting and important as ever.  However, the notion of studying science and mathematics because they are inherently interesting is only part of the equation.

What do students do with this knowledge when they face the prospect of having to earn a living?

An answer to this question lies in the letters of “T” and “E” of STEM.  James Pellegrino and Margaret L. Hilton note that “deeper learning” and “transfer” are important goals of education (National Research Council. Education for Life and Work: Delivering Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century. Washington, DC. The National Academy Press, 2012). 

Technology and engineering offer real-world opportunities for deeper learning and transferability of cross-cutting concepts of scientific and mathematical ideas, principles and processes.

How to effectively integrate these themes into curricula that engender college and career readiness remains a challenge.

Raymond J. Dagenais, Ed.D. is a Curriculum/Professional Development Specialist at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and a co-leader of the Design Team for the Aurora University based John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School

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