The rationale for including all students in such initiatives is two-fold. First, many students may have a latent interest in STEM careers that may not be apparent in early years, but which may be encouraged by personal involvement with applications of these disciplines. Second, all students live, and will eventually work, in a world that is highly influenced by science, engineering, and technology. To function effectively in 21st century workplaces and societies, students need the ability to understand and evaluate technology in its many forms. Advocates for this “technological literacy” assert that its absence places society in a vulnerable situation: surrounded by technology, and increasingly dependent upon it; yet at a disadvantage when it comes to our understanding of it . Top 10 Schools in Kumbakonam
In addition to the motivations discussed above, this initiative was developed in response to a perceived opportunity associated with widespread adoption of new education standards for English language arts, mathematics, and science . These new standards place increased emphasis on mastering key processes rather than memorization of numerous facts, as well as the application of these processes in multiple curricular subjects (instead of, for example, confining English content solely to the English class). In addition, new science standards explicitly include processes of engineering design.
Appropriate professional development is absolutely essential to the success of this kind of initiative, primarily because most teachers have little or no prior experience with engineering design or the applications of various technologies. To address this need, two four-day professional development sessions were held during the summer of 2012. These sessions included hands-on experience with tools, electronics, materials selection, and STEM lesson planning. Sessions attended by sixth grade teachers included construction of model greenhouses.
To provide students with a more informed perspective, the Matriculation School team is working with local representatives of the manufacturing sector to identify suitable activities for inclusion in the Whole-School STEM curriculum, and to provide opportunities for students.