“STEM” is the acronym of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. “In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.” (National Science Foundation). STEM education helps to bridge the ethnic and gender gaps sometimes found in math and science fields.
STEM provides an enjoyable and stimulating way of learning that engages young students in numerous ways (Morrison 2006):
Problem-solvers – able to define questions and problems, design investigations to gather data, collect and organize data, draw conclusions, and then apply understandings to new and novel situations.
Innovators – creatively use science, mathematics, and technology concepts and principles by applying them to the engineering design process.
Inventors – recognize the needs of the world and creatively design, test, redesign, and then implement solutions (engineering process).
Self-reliant – able to use initiative and self-motivation to set agendas, develop and gain self-confidence, and work within time specified time frames.
Logical thinkers – able to apply rational and logical thought processes of science, mathematics, and engineering design to innovation and invention.
Technologically literate – understand and explain the nature of technology, develop the skills needed, and apply technology appropriately.