By: Monica Van Aken, Head of School
Nations Report: We Need More STEM in Schools; US Kids Respond: We Hate Those Classes.
I will not make this article another one of doom and gloom about the shortage of students in America with interest or skills in STEM-related courses. But the latest statistics from Engineering powerhouse, Lafayette College, has me thinking. The Spring 2018, Lafayette College Magazine article entitled Superheros of Stem (ok, forewarning, I am painted in pretty glowing terms in that article, as is our school) writes that the gap between men and women in engineering and technology fields are deeply entrenched, starting in high school! The antidote for that of course is to design curriculum using innovative tools and creative teaching methods to make students not only want to study science, technology, engineering, and math, but also believe they have the chops to excel.
Our belief and practice at MMS is that we offer STEM education while children are young so that they have time to grow in their knowledge, skills, and love of the subjects. We instill the possibilities for them by focusing on knowledge creation — from coding and designing individual games, robots, solving complex mechanical problems, and even massive economic global issues as done in the World Peace Games. We want kids to know that we expect them to play an essential role in developing innovative, cutting-edge technologies to solve some of the world’s most critical problems.
Some of the topics imparted by our faculty include advancing the science and technology behind cleaning up the world's oceans and polluted fresh water in the Great Lakes, inventing clean alternative energy sources, preventing and reversing cyberattacks, and feeding a growing population. Our lessons are creative, out of the box, relevant to this generation of children because they need to be engaging, inclusive and real.
Ultimately, authentic, engaging instruction doesn't just give students the knowledge and skills to excel in STEM-related subjects, but aid in the development of academic confidence; the latter being vital because research is clear that students who lack confidence in math and science classes are less likely to pursue careers in those fields.