August 2012 • Volume 16 • Number 1 • Page 2
Patricia George, Editor
Hooking Kids on STEM
STEM education is a hot topic these days— especially since President Obama declared it a priority, emphasizing its importance in bolstering the nation's international ranking in education and ensuring the country can compete in the global economy.
In launching his Educate to Innovate campaign, President Obama said, "Reaffirming and strengthening America's role as the world's engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation is essential to meeting the challenges of this century."
I agree that STEM education is important. But talk of increased national rankings and competition in global economies isn't going to motivate today's young adolescents to embrace it. Nor is telling them they'll get into a better college or land a more lucrative career if they take STEM courses.
Rather, we need to help students make that connection between STEM content and their world. We need to stress that STEM education is about more than learning about science, technology, engineering, and math. It's about developing critical thinking skills and combining those skills with content knowledge to solve real-world problems, imagining and inventing new things, and getting excited about creating their future.
This issue of Middle Ground takes you inside two middle schools that are getting students excited about STEM. At Salisbury Middle School in Maryland, the STEM program is an inclusive "school within a school" that provides a thematic, problem-based approach that immerses students in the content and promotes critical thinking and real-world connections.
The STEM program at Powell Middle School in Colorado is centered on one important question: How will you make the world better? This STEM middle school focuses on creating capable, confident students who will not only go on to graduate with postsecondary degrees in STEM subjects, but will use their knowledge to make the world a better place.
But what about the arts? Georgette Yakman explains how important— and easy—it is to weave the arts into the STEM curriculum. The result? STEAM education.
I am sure you will find inspiration and ideas within the pages of this issue. Take a look at the special preview of the AMLE Annual Conference. Portland is the place to be in November!
Copyright © 2012 Assocation for Middle Level Education