What is STEM? Is it isolated or integrated? While K-12 students usually study science and mathematics separately, all four disciplines within STEM are actually intertwined in the real world. The National Academies Press draws a picture of the outcomes that may occur if students were taught about these connections.
The National Academies’ full report, “STEM Integration in K-12 Education,” makes recommendations for designers of integrated STEM experiences, assessment developers, and researchers to design and document effective integrated STEM education in hopes that STEM education will make a positive difference in student learning and interest in STEM careers.
The full report is available for free online. Check it out here and let us know what you think!
The National Academies Press (NAP) was created by the National Academy of Sciences to publish the reports of the National Academy of Sciences,National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council, all operating under a charter granted by the Congress of the United States. The NAP publishes more than 200 books a year on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and medicine, providing authoritative information on important matters in science and health policy. The institutions served by the NAP are unique in their ability to attract leading experts in many fields to join panels and committees charged with providing policy advice on some of the nation’s most pressing scientific, technical, and health-related issues.
Lego, the toy-block company we all know and love, has teamed up with National Instruments to provide a more hands-on approach to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. By teaming up with National Instruments and its software, Lego enables students to improve their reasoning and problem-solving skills by programming robots they built out of robots. “Learning in books alone isn’t going to be very engaging or effective. By actually using the same tools and concepts and technology that [students are] going to use later on, they can actually build on the same architecture, the same platform they can use [both in and out of school],” said Jennifer Dawkins, the STEM program manager at National Instruments.
Not only has Lego teamed up with National Instruments to provide hands-on STEM learning, but they have also partnered with National Initiative in an effort to change how STEM and other subjects are taught in classrooms throughout the country. This shift in STEM education guidelines is aimed at learning how to do science rather than just teaching kids about science. “What we know from the learning sciences is that the more actively a person engages with the material that they’re learning, the better the retention and ability to apply that knowledge or that skill is,” says Kemi Jona, the director of the Northwestern University Office of STEM Education Partnerships.
“Allowing those other perspectives to become part of what it means to learn science has been shown to engage a lot more students from lots of different backgrounds and help them see this is what they can do too: that they have the ability and the expertise and the knowledge to do it successfully,” says Ann Rivet, an associate professor of science education at Teachers College at Columbia University. Through this new hands-on approach, Lego, National Instruments, and STEM educators throughout the country hope to make STEM fields more diverse.
To learn more about Lego and National Instruments’ hands-on approach to STEM education, watch the video above or check out the article by US News. What do you think about this new approach to STEM learning? Let us know!