STEM curriculum blends science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in order to teach “21st-century skills,” or tools students need to have if they wish to succeed in the workplace of the “future.” The idea is that in order to be prepared for jobs and compete with students from different parts of the world, students here in the US need to be able to solve problems, find and use evidence, collaborate on projects, and think critically. Skills, the thinking goes, that are taught in those subjects.
According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 9.8%. STEM degree holders have a higher income (29% higher) even in non-STEM careers. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy, and are a critical component to helping the U.S. win the future. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. Innovation leads to new products and processes that sustain our economy. This innovation and science literacy depends on a solid knowledge base in the STEM areas. It is clear that most jobs of the future will require a basic understanding of math and science. Despite these compelling facts, mathematics and science scores on average among U.S. students are lagging behind other developing countries.
We believe that by including a blended STEM pedagogy in our curiculum we are doing what needs to be done in order to prepare our students for the changing world. Not only will this increase our student’s academic capacity and higher order thinking skills, it will encourage our students to consider lucrative and plentiful STEM careers.