Introducing STEM: What Is It and Why We Need It

introducing stem

You may have heard of a buzzword in the education community: STEM. Here at Hampton Lutheran School, it’s not just a buzzword; it’s going to help shape our curriculum so we offer students the best education for the world we live in.

kids science

“STEM is about a spirit of experimenting…” – LifeHacker.com

What is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It’s a curriculum-based emphasis striving to prepare students for what experts see as the best career areas to push the United States ahead internationally. These areas inspire invention, promote critical thinking, and increase the competitive innovation that has long been a part of America’s workforce.

Why is STEM important?

In the past 10 years alone, STEM jobs have grown three times as quickly as non-STEM jobs. Unfortunately, the skills taught in school don’t match up, and kids aren’t being prepared for these types of careers. Forty percent of American fourth graders have achieved proficiency in math, and Nebraska is below this national average at 39 percent.

stem education

“By exposing students to STEM and giving them opportunities to explore STEM-related concepts, they will develop a passion for it and hopefully pursue a job in a STEM field.” – Engineering for Kids

Internationally, the United States ranks 22nd in science and 29th in mathematics. The STEM Education Coalition in Washington wants strives to improve our national ranking through legislation, increased STEM awareness, and a direct cooperation with America’s classrooms.

Beyond improving United States’ international standing, STEM works to promote these individual skills that are critical to students’ overall education:

  • Communication skills are achieved through the high-levels of teamwork, technical writing, and public speaking required for STEM-related projects.
  • Thinking skills push students to think critically, problem solve, and understand the systemic functions of individual parts. Often this involves a cross-disciplinary perspective solving non-STEM problems from a STEM approach. This places the unlikely skill of creativity as a crucial part of any science, math, or technology class.

Why does HLS need STEM?

To live, learn, and be productive members of our rapidly changing global society, students leaving Hampton Lutheran School need skills and attitudes that reflect the technological world they live in. Technology in our society is being used to increase productivity, enhance communication, access and apply vast amounts of information, and increase knowledge and understanding. We must prepare our students for these uses of technology wherever they may find them.

In light of these changes, HLS started an initiative to improve its students’ science, technology, engineering, and math skills. Here are some of the programs we’ve already started implementing:

  • ipad learningOur updated math program last school year centered on new curriculum and higher expectations for students as well as an increased effort to exceed both state and national standards.
  • Grade-appropriate computer science curriculum will be added to progress reports and will be implemented this upcoming school year.
  • We’ll continue to emphasize data processing skills, such as creating and using spreadsheets and graphs as well as doing research and word processing using Google Docs and practicing keyboarding skills.
  • Students will work with coding programs with iPads and laptops.
  • Teachers will increase emphasis on internet safety with students and their parents.
  • We are hoping to create a robotics program that we want to develop into a competitive team in the next two to three years.

All of these additions are being added in an effort to connect students more closely with God’s creation so HLS can better fulfill its mission to equip children both spiritually and academically.

Have questions about how STEM will be integrated into HLS’s curriculum? Contact us here.

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