What’s All the Fuss about STEM? Hype or Reality?

I doubt you can have a child in primary school today, and not have heard the word STEM or STEAM at least once.

You might be thinking its it another FAD like the Y2k bug that got us all heated and worried about NOTHING at the beginning of this millennium…

Another scheme to get us to pay and spend more on our kids?

Or isn’t STEM only for science students who want to be scientists, engineer, Silicon Valley or MIT, right? Once STEM is mentioned you immediately imagine It’s easy to get confused and think STEM is only about geeks in lab coats or disciplines that have long names no one can pronounce.

In essence, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and if you add Arts it becomes STEAM.

STEM and STEAM are not new, they are simply emphasizing integration. Instead of teaching these subjects in independent subject silos, lessons should focus on interdisciplinary learning.

With STEM, we are teaching skills the way they will be used in the workforce, and the real world. Rarely does a job require only one skill set like math.

When I was in secondary school, we were told if you are good in Maths and Science you are a Science Student and if you are NOT, you are an ARTS student – so do courses like Economics, Law, etc. That’s was the biggest blunder. So, my friends that hated Maths went on to study Accounting in University. That’s where I am sure they realised how so wrong they were.

If you decide to run any business– you need STEAM. Let’s say you have a baking business. To be successful, you need to apply the right conditions for the right chemical reactions to occur. You need to use math to ensure all your measurements are exact. You may use digital thermometers or scales. If you are adventurous, you may spend a lot of time engineering the cake into a recognizable shape. Finally, you can bring in the arts (making it a STEAM activity) as you apply your icing in a way that makes your creation beautiful and appetizing.

Simply put, STEM reflects real life.

We don’t need children to memorize random facts anymore. We have so many facts at our finger tips now (simply Ask Google).

It’s important not just because STEM fields offer awesome job opportunities and our future depends on these kids. STEM is about a spirit of experimenting and evaluating information objectively, of understanding our world a little bit more.

For your child to succeed in today and the future, it’s not about getting the best grades or being able to pass exams. It’s also not about jumping on the coding and robotics bandwagon, not all kids would be coders or engineers. To succeed in the future, your child needs to excel at Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication.

So, how do you get kids interested in Stem?  Watch out for the next post.