A STEM EDUCATION
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym for Scence, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and usually refers to education in one or more disciplines. STEM disciplines identified by the National Science Foundation include engineering, mathematics, agricultural sciences, biological sciences, physical sciences, psychology, economics and other natural and social/behavioral sciences, computer science, and earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences.
A STEM education is a fully integrated curriculum designed to teach and enhance the STEM disciplines. In this 21st century and the new global economy, an education with a STEM focus is a critical step towards providing students with necessary technological literacy that will enable them to take part in the exciting careers of the future.
Montessori & STEM
Montessori teachers have a jump start to STEM education as compared to their conventional counterparts since student engagement in hands-on learning is inherent in a Montessori classroom. In fact, beginning in the Infant/Toddler Program, the language arts and math foundation is established through the discovery of natural laws through the manipulation of didactic materials and problem solving with peers. The Montessori materials engage the senses and ensures the internalization of concepts, not just the memorization of facts. Furthermore, the Montessori curriculum reinforces that everything is interrelated.
The current STEM movement is calling for innovation, collaboration, and hands-on learning and problem solving. Recently we have begun participating in the Junior First Lego League, a local STEM program. In addition, Children’s Magnet has and will continue to provide an academically rigorous, engaging and supportive learning environment that allows for innovation, collaboration, and hands-on learning and problem solving.
STEM-Related Field Trips & Outreach Programs
In the past we have visited Northrop Grumman, the National Aquarium, and the Miller Branch Library for STEM-related trips and outreach. At Northrop-Grumman students had the opportunity to participate in age-appropriate engineering activities with the intention of promoting interest in engineering, science, technology, and/or math. Some of the projects tackled on these trips have involved the building of speakers for an iPod using a foam plate; creating an AM radio signal; and building wind-powered vehicles that were raced on location. The Miller Branch Library has held several STEM focused Family Nights that have included: Having a Ball with Chemistry, Candy Science, Wiggly Giggly Gelatin, Snowflake Science, Go Figure, Robotics Fair, and Everyday Engineering.
Junior First Lego League
Junior First Lego League (Jr. FLL) is a fun way to channel the creativity and energy of young kids towards science and technology. Jr. FLL is a community-based program where teams of 2-6 students and a coach research a topic and build a model with moving parts to illustrate their topic.