STEM Learning Strategies
STEM is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (including physics and chemistry).
The STEM approach to teachers Teachers was enthusiastic about the impact of the project on their own teaching skills, with 98% believing
it had some impact and 81% believing the impact was high or moderate. Share
of teachers who felt the impact was high increased steadily over the three years.
Similarly, teachers felt that teaching different activities helped them learn to contextualize them
lessons better in real-life applications, with 84% of teachers saying the project had a big impact
this ability by the third year. Teachers also felt that their ability to advise students about STEM careers had
improved through contact with employers, either virtually or in the classroom. Proportions again
are similar, with 83% believing they were much better equipped to help students with careers advice
final year of the project and 97% acknowledged that they had coped better with STEM careers guidance. sore
A STEM approach to teaching and learning gives students the opportunity to work on challenging problems and projects.
Hands-on activities help students:
- an experiment
- use new technologies
- test ideas
create and create innovative solutions to real-world, complex problems through the engineering design process.
What STEM students will learn
STEM looks different in every classroom at every school. Here are some examples of what STEM students could get involved with:
- designing and building prototypes such as windmills, solar cars and water sampling technologies
- the Engineers Without Borders project, which designs and develops solutions for humanitarian problems such as solar cookers, water filtration systems and solar lighting
- agroscience and agricultural engineering
- developing technical and engineering skills to troubleshoot problems at the source of the problem, repair a machine or debug an operating system.
Few European countries have an overall strategic approach to promoting education in science, technology, engineering or mathematics subjects. Those that do focus mainly on the curriculum in schools, teaching methods and teacher training. Most strategic approaches also involve a range of partners such as governments, companies, industry associations and higher education institutions. This policy work is a response to a range of concerns, including: • declining interest in science studies and related professions • increasing demand for skilled researchers and technicians . to address such concerns, policy makers, including those without an overall strategy, have undertaken a range of activities that include: • promoting scientific culture, knowledge and research by introducing pupils and students to scientific practices and disseminating the results of scientific research into schools • making students understand what science is used mainly through contact with companies in science fields • improving and supporting the implementation of the science curriculum, subjects and teaching • providing teachers with further professional development (CPD) focusing on practical work and research-oriented learning • supporting students in school in science acts • increasing STEM recruitment by encouraging talented pupils and motivating students to choose STEM careers by making school science more relevant to work1 Most European countries recommend that STEM be taught in context. This usually involves teaching STEM in relation to current societal issues. In almost all European countries, it is recommended to include environmental issues and applications of scientific achievements in everyday life in STEM lessons. Strengthening the competence of teachers is also a particularly important concern. Countries that have a strategic framework to support STEM usually include improving teacher development as one of their goals. School partnerships, STEM centers and similar institutions contribute to teachers’ informal learning and can provide valuable advice and provide teachers with formal in-service activities. Career guidance is also encouraged, but usually as part of already established career guidance mechanisms that do not necessarily involve STEM teachers and often by making the examples used in the classroom more relevant to the “real world”.
This overview describes how one project, InGenious2, whose characteristics include many of the points above, has successfully enabled a number of schools in 26 European countries to change students’ interest in STEM subjects and STEM careers and increase their likelihood of entering them. such careers when they leave education. The project last three years and involving 500 teachers, 350 schools and 15,000 students from primary and secondary schools and further education. Teachers and their students were asked to evaluate 35 different classroom activities designed to place learning in an industrial context. The activities themselves were developed with employers or industry experts. This included opportunities for teachers and students to visit industries, participate in online discussions with employers, meet experts in their classrooms and ask them about their work, take part in new classroom experiments and explore how teaching science, mathematics and other technological subjects help when choosing a profession or employment in later life. As part of the activities in the STEM articles
, they had the opportunity to learn firsthand what careers in these fields are all about and how they can get involved. Teachers who taught STEM were also responsible for teaching and helping students understand the qualities of individuals who worked in the industry. Sometimes this teaching was done in conjunction with careers advisors or an employer, but the basis of the lesson was that not only was STEM subject knowledge put into a real industrial context, but the jobs that this STEM knowledge could lead to were promoted to the students as well . In order to evaluate the effectiveness of knowledge and career support activities, surveys were collected annually from teachers and students that explored their views on the activities they undertook and the results of these analyzed to provide information on their impact on students and teachers.
Impact on students
Students reported that the activities they participated in were interesting and for most had an impact on their understanding of STEM careers. In addition, when responding directly to questions about working in STEM subjects, both elementary and middle school students were more likely to report a preference for working in a STEM field after participating in the project as corresponding graphs.
Impact on teachers
Teachers were enthusiastic about the impact of the project on their own teaching skills, with 98% believing it had some impact and 81% believing it was high or moderate. The proportion of teachers who felt the impact was high increased steadily over the three years. Similarly, teachers felt that teaching a variety of activities helped them learn to better apply their lessons to real-world applications, with 84% of teachers saying the project had a big impact on this ability in the third year. Teachers also felt that their ability to advise students about STEM careers was enhanced by exposure to employers, either virtually or in the classroom. The proportions are again similar, with 83% believing they were much better equipped to help students with careers advice in the final year of the project, and 97% admitting they had better cope with careers advice in STEM.