What is STEM?
STEM education is the intentional integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and their associated practices to create a student-centered learning environment in which students investigate and engineer solutions to problems, and construct evidence-based explanations of real-world phenomena with a focus on a student’s social, emotional, physical, and academic needs through shared contributions of schools, families, and community partners.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education is critical to ongoing economic success in Florida. Nationwide, growth in STEM careers outpaces that of any other occupational category. In addition STEM careers offer higher beginning salaries and more career earning potential than most other fields. Today’s careers require STEM skills at all levels of employment from service industries to engineering. Young adults who do not possess high level skills in mathematics, science and technology are at a significant career disadvantage not only because of the tremendous opportunities for high-wage, high-demand STEM careers, but also because these skills are vital for success in other industry sectors. This combination of high need and high opportunity in STEM fields requires us to consider the proper preparation and support for individuals pursuing STEM studies.
STEM education is best sustained by supporting individual content areas as well as integrated experiences. Additionally, integrated coursework and projects can be used to support both the academic standards and the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Standards. STEM education requires an integrated learning approach where problem solving and engineering practices are included, where technology is seamlessly integrated throughout, and where there are high expectations for achievement in mathematics and science. STEM education is not restricted to the disciplines of mathematics and science. Providing safe and healthy school environments as well as coursework in other subject areas (e.g., art, language arts, social studies, health, etc.) provide opportunities to improve learning, processing, research, literacy and communication skills that also support and enhance the various STEM programs.
What Constitutes a STEM Program of Study?
The acronym STEM is fairly specific in nature referring to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; however, the concept of STEM encompasses much more than the sum of its parts. Workers in STEM occupations use science and math to solve problems and drive our nation's innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries. STEM programs of study are typically classified based upon four occupational clusters: computer technology; mathematical sciences; engineering and surveying; and natural, physical, and life sciences. STEM programs in Florida's public schools must embrace the integration of technology and engineering in science and mathematics.
Fldoe.org – Florida Department of Education