There’s been a lot of talk lately about Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The changes being discussed in curricula and educational standards involve major revisions to the way we teach. However, there are compelling reasons you shouldn’t ignore STEM curriculum that go beyond standards and assessments.
1. The Right STEM Curriculum Engages Students Through Inquiry
First of all, let’s talk about the way students best learn. When forced to sit down and memorize established facts and figures, students often find their minds wandering. They have little first-hand experience to contextualize learning and anchor concepts on their own.
Teachers do their best to combat the monotony of this form of learning, which is not an easy task. With inquiry-based learning programs, teachers are able to better help their students understand subject matter through engaging, hands-on lessons. Students get to solve problems and explore solutions. They come to understand science and math subjects through rigorous prototypes, experiments, and activities that incorporate real-world applications of scientific and engineering practices.
2. The Right STEM Curriculum Makes Science Relevant
Through hands-on experimentation and prototyping, students can better understand why science is relevant to their futures and to the world. They’re given the chance to work in teams, brainstorm ideas, and come up with innovative solutions that lead them to discover the relevance and importance of science, engineering, and math.
3. Quality STEM Curriculum Builds Transferable Skills
When students memorize facts, they can only use those facts with the same content in the same scenarios. When students apply what they know to answer a question or solve a problem, however, they’re developing problem-solving skills that can be used in any context. These skills are increasingly valuable in all fields as we seek to address complex problems that need innovative solutions.
4. The U.S. is Lagging Behind the World in Math and Science
As of right now, students in the U.S. are lagging behind the rest of the world. When looking at worldwide rankings for education, we’re 24th for science and 31st for math. If we want to continue to be a world leader in STEM innovation and prepare our students to compete in a global job market, we need to prepare them now. An interactive STEM curriculum is a powerful tool that allows students to get a headstart on developing skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.
5. STEM-Based Careers are Growing Faster Than Ever
With technology advancing at lightning speeds, more and more careers require knowledge and literacy in the STEM fields. Unfortunately, the old standards of teaching science and math have done little to build interest and confidence in these fields, leaving teachers with few resources to create a connection between STEM opportunity and the STEM classroom. As a result, students often seek out other fields where they find it easier to relate.
With an interactive science curriculum, starting in early elementary school, children can get a hands-on look at how the natural and designed worlds work by being an engineer or scientist in different situations. They see and feel a significant sense of achievement when they hone their powers of analysis and evaluation to come up with their own creative solutions and innovations in the classroom.
Inquiry-based STEM curriculum is essential to bringing our children into the future of science and technology. With the right resources and support, teachers are able to provide students with much more engagement and autonomy in the learning process. Teachers can help their students see from an early age that innovation is based on creativity, questioning, and problem solving.
The implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards will help ensure that your students are getting a STEM education that prepares them with skills for the real world. Does your current curriculum align with the new standards?