How has STEM education curriculum changed?

Have you been outside of out of a science class since you were in high school? If so, it may be difficult to know how STEM education curriculum has changed.

Here is an interesting article on how the focus of science education for Ireland. It offers a quick view of how STEM education curriculum has changed for elementary and high school students, in particular. Here is a summary of key points of the article:

Changes in stem education curriculum

For primary kids, today’s STEM education focuses less on subjects like chemistry, physics or biology. Rather kids are encouraged to look themes they can observe around them including:

  • Energy and forces
  • Materials
  • Living things
  • Environmental awareness and care

By switching this focus, even teachers who may not have science backgrounds, can lead students in discovery.

The following quote from Margie McCarthy (Head of education and public engagement at Science Foundation Ireland) is I think very worthwhile of consideration: “Kids have a natural curiosity and aptitude for STEM. We have to be careful that the culture in Ireland is still open to saying ‘I’m bad at maths’; we’d never say it about any other subject. And actually we are good at it, and kids love finding out, discovering and investigating – just as any professional scientist or engineer loves to do. We are trying to capture and nurture this by bringing it to life.
While we still do need basic facts, including the times tables, the focus on education is shifting to enquiry and curiosity based learning.”

Kids need STEM Mentors

Another important point raised by this article is the need for mentors as kids progress. If kids don’t see themselves in STEM occupations, they self select out of those STEM classes. Under-represented groups from women to  minorities need to see successful and like mentors to believe they too can succeed in STEM higher education and STEM occupations.