The world of education is constantly evolving, and it’s no secret that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) jobs are growing faster than any other field. This means educators have an important task: to nurture and train passionate, qualified individuals who can fill these positions. To achieve this, schools have recognized the need to incorporate STEM education into their curricula, starting from preschool and continuing all the way through high school. This is crucial for student success. One effective approach school administrators and educators can take are to create a school-wide focus on STEM that provides students with the necessary resources and support to succeed. In this article, STEM Sports® provides insightful details on the benefits of fostering a school-wide STEM-focused environment, as well as practical guidance on how to implement this approach from an administrative and educator perspective.
The Benefits of a School-Wide STEM Focus
Creating a school-wide STEM focus has many benefits to student success. In this section, we will explore some of the many benefits this environment has on the school and individual students.
- Enhanced Learning Outcomes: STEM education is an essential part of providing students with a well-rounded education. It is also an effective way to strengthen students’ 21st-century skills, which are essential to success in future careers. Through STEM learning, students will improve their STEM literacy and ability to think critically and creatively.
- Improved Student Engagement: By introducing students to STEM subjects in engaging, interactive ways, educators can help increase student engagement. This engagement in STEM can lead to passions and hobbies in these subjects, which will promote students to continue taking these courses in the future.
- Career Preparation: According to Create & Learn, STEM careers are expected to increase by over 10% between 2020 and 2030. Students attending a school with a STEM focus are more likely to continue on a STEM education path and pursue STEM careers. STEM schools give students the guidance and resources they need to better understand STEM career options and the skills needed to succeed in the role.
Strategies for Creating a STEM Culture
Creating a school-wide STEM focus has a variety of benefits for students and teachers. One obstacle school administrators have to overcome is how to create this STEM culture at their school. Below is a curated list of strategies for creating a STEM-focused environment at your school.
- Develop a shared vision and mission for STEM education. This mission statement can be used to create a common goal for the school and community.
- Provide professional development opportunities for STEM teachers. This can include online courses and workshops to help teachers improve their STEM skills.
- Encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and project-based learning. One way to promote this is for educators to work together to help each other better understand different subjects and how they can implement cross-curricular lesson plans.
- Allocate resources for STEM-focused activities and technology. The technology landscape is constantly changing. By giving students access to new, innovative materials, they will be better prepared to fill STEM careers that use technology in the future.
- Establish partnerships with local industries and organizations. This can include creating a STEM mentorship program students can use to navigate their STEM education.
Involving the School Community
Engaging parents, students, and educators is a great way to get community members involved and supportive of creating a school-wide STEM focus. By getting the community involved in the school’s STEM mission, administrators can create a collaborative, innovative environment to help students succeed. Here are some suggestions on how to engage community members in promoting and supporting a school-wide STEM focus:
- Host STEM events and showcase student projects: Hosting school STEM events gives parents the opportunity to get involved in their child’s education. It also gives them insight into the school’s approach to STEM learning. This hands-on exposure can lead to community engagement and buy-in to the STEM mission.
- Create a STEM advisory committee with diverse representation: Creating an advisory committee is a great way to get different perspectives on how to best implement STEM into the classroom. The committee also gets stakeholders involved in the mission to create a STEM-focused environment.
- Communicate the importance of STEM education to parents and stakeholders: A great way to communicate the importance of STEM education and what the school is doing to promote STEM literacy is through a monthly newsletter. This can include insights into current STEM trends and feature classroom success stories written by teachers.
- Seek input and feedback from the school community on STEM initiatives: Getting feedback from parents is a great way to further increase their involvement in creating a school-wide STEM culture. Gathering feedback is essential, but it is equally if not more important to implement the change being talked about!
How STEM Sports Curriculum Supports a School-Wide STEM Culture
At STEM Sports®, we are passionate about providing K-8 students with innovative and engaging STEM education through sports-based curricula. Our mission is to make STEM education exciting for all students, regardless of current skill level and comfortability in STEM. We believe by integrating STEM concepts into sports-related activities and games, we can help students develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that connect to real-world situations.
Our curriculum modules are designed to align with national and state standards and require little to no professional development by teachers. As supplemental lesson plans, the STEM Sports® curricula are meant to aid other STEM curriculum executions. Each module includes hands-on activities, real-world examples, and career connections to help students understand the relevance and importance of STEM education.
Since the STEM Sports® curricula are meant to be used in conjunction with other STEM lesson plans, it makes the perfect addition to a school trying to support a STEM culture. This cross-curricular approach to STEM gives educators the turnkey tools they need to implement STEM lessons that engage left and right-brain learners. It also has the ability to be seamlessly integrated into a STEM or physical education curriculum, allowing STEM learning to span across multiple classes!
School-Wide STEM Focus with STEM Sports Curriculum
If you are a school administrator or educator looking to create a school-wide STEM focus for your students, visit the STEM Sports® website to learn more about our current curriculum offerings for your K-8 students.