STEM education integrates concepts that are usually taught as separate subjects in different classes and emphasizes the application of knowledge to real-life situations. A lesson or unit in a STEM class is typically based around finding a solution to a real-world problem and tends to emphasize project-based learning. Many STEM lessons involve building models and simulating situations, and impactful STEM lessons ensure that students understand the connection to the real world.
STEM education could take place in a separate STEM class or be incorporated into practically any subject and grade level. Of course, science and math classes would be able to directly implement STEM-related lessons. In a social studies class learning about the Industrial Revolution, however, many students may design their own assembly line. OR, in an English class, students may keep a journal about their thinking and research processes while designing a realistic bridge from a fictional novel.
Careers in STEM-related fields are vast and diverse. Some examples include careers in the pharmacy, energy, programming, and engineering fields. However, STEM careers may also take the form of a physician’s assistant, network communications expert, or agricultural professional. Finance, risk analysis, and even athletic training have elements of STEM in them.
The NCESD places a strong emphasis on providing support for STEM education.