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Category: Stuff for Your Brain

Exploring the Benefits of a STEM Education

Benefits of Stem Education

In a job economy driven by rapidly changing technology, it’s more important than ever that our schools foster a love of learning. Starting our students on a steady dose of STEM curriculum in elementary primes them to become the inquisitive kiddos that lead to ambitious adults.

What does STEM stand for?

For anyone who’s seen the term STEM, but kept it on the periphery, here’s a bit of background. The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Recently “arts” was added to the educational model, making STEAM an interchangeable term you might also hear.

In school, STEM or STEAM lessons are taught using an integrative approach that shows how each subject relates to and works with the others. This interdisciplinary instruction also closely mirrors how these concept applications function in the working world.

Educational Benefits of STEM

The sooner our students are exposed to STEM activities the better. During the elementary years, when their synapses are most impressionable, youngsters have an innate drive toward curiosity. STEAM programming prioritizes and encourages this curiosity, making lessons easier to internalize.

By making it accessible to anyone, STEM education benefits everyone in the classroom by:

  • Reducing lesson and testing anxiety. The principles of STEM diminish stress by putting the focus on the student’s ability to learn and grow, encouraging a belief in oneself.
  • Making it okay to fail. Our mistakes are powerful teachers. When the environment is safe and welcoming, students don’t fear punishment of failure and learn to view it as an opportunity to simply explore or try new things.
  • Prioritizing the 4 C’s. No matter their age, whatever their job title, they’re going to need to know how to interact well with others. STEAM helps develop the necessary 21st-century learning skills including creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.
  • Helping them apply meaning. STEM curriculum is engaging and motivates students to think through real world-inspired scenarios. Taught in this way, the concepts make more sense and students are able to understand the value and purpose. This depth of knowledge also leads to a greater understanding of each pillar.

STEM Career Opportunities

According to the STEM Diversity Network at the University of Wisconsin Madison, “By 2018, it’s predicted that 8.65 million STEM jobs will exist. Nevertheless, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a drastic shortage of almost 600,000 potential candidates for those jobs.”

So job security is almost guaranteed, but pursuing a STEM career doesn’t necessarily mean students will automatically be chained to a MIT laboratory or relegated to Silicon Valley. STEM is everywhere, permeating just about every fathomable industry.

Contrary to some of the stereotypes, STEM-led disciplines include everything from product development for the fashion industry to Legoland Designer! (And what little boy wouldn’t leap out of his chair for that job?!)

In short, there’s no better way to equip students for their life journey than to turn them into lifelong learners. Once they master this skill, there’s no realm, be it higher education or the real world, which they can’t conquer.

 AUTHOR BIO:

Dave Monaco has worked in education for 24 years and counting. He has put his M.A.T. to great use as the Head of School at Parish Episcopal School and helps Parish live out their mission to guide young people to become creative learners and bold leaders who will impact our global society. With his philosophy to “engage the mind, connect to the heart,” this father of three will continue bringing order to chaos one day at a time.

In a job economy driven by rapidly changing technology, it’s more important than ever that our schools foster a love of learning. Starting our students on a steady dose of STEM curriculum in elementary primes them to become the inquisitive kiddos that lead to ambitious adults.

What does STEM stand for?

For anyone who’s seen the term STEM, but kept it on the periphery, here’s a bit of background. The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Recently “arts” was added to the educational model, making STEAM an interchangeable term you might also hear.

In school, STEM or STEAM lessons are taught using an integrative approach that shows how each subject relates to and works with the others. This interdisciplinary instruction also closely mirrors how these concept applications function in the working world.

Educational Benefits of STEM

The sooner our students are exposed to STEM activities the better. During the elementary years, when their synapses are most impressionable, youngsters have an innate drive toward curiosity. STEAM programming prioritizes and encourages this curiosity, making lessons easier to internalize.

By making it accessible to anyone, STEM education benefits everyone in the classroom by:

  • Reducing lesson and testing anxiety. The principles of STEM diminish stress by putting the focus on the student’s ability to learn and grow, encouraging a belief in oneself.
  • Making it okay to fail. Our mistakes are powerful teachers. When the environment is safe and welcoming, students don’t fear punishment of failure and learn to view it as an opportunity to simply explore or try new things.
  • Prioritizing the 4 C’s. No matter their age, whatever their job title, they’re going to need to know how to interact well with others. STEAM helps develop the necessary 21st-century learning skills including creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.
  • Helping them apply meaning. STEM curriculum is engaging and motivates students to think through real world-inspired scenarios. Taught in this way, the concepts make more sense and students are able to understand the value and purpose. This depth of knowledge also leads to a greater understanding of each pillar.

STEM Career Opportunities

According to the STEM Diversity Network at the University of Wisconsin Madison, “By 2018, it’s predicted that 8.65 million STEM jobs will exist. Nevertheless, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a drastic shortage of almost 600,000 potential candidates for those jobs.”

So job security is almost guaranteed, but pursuing a STEM career doesn’t necessarily mean students will automatically be chained to a MIT laboratory or relegated to Silicon Valley. STEM is everywhere, permeating just about every fathomable industry.

Contrary to some of the stereotypes, STEM-led disciplines include everything from product development for the fashion industry to Legoland Designer! (And what little boy wouldn’t leap out of his chair for that job?!)

In short, there’s no better way to equip students for their life journey than to turn them into lifelong learners. Once they master this skill, there’s no realm, be it higher education or the real world, which they can’t conquer.

 AUTHOR BIO:

Dave Monaco has worked in education for 24 years and counting. He has put his M.A.T. to great use as the Head of School at Parish Episcopal School and helps Parish live out their mission to guide young people to become creative learners and bold leaders who will impact our global society. With his philosophy to “engage the mind, connect to the heart,” this father of three will continue bringing order to chaos one day at a time.

What To Do When There Is Nothing To Do

School is done for the season and your family isn’t going anywhere for holidays. You feel like just hanging out in bed watching videos on your phone. After all, there is nothing else to do. Wrong. You don’t have to fly across the country or spend lots of money to have a fun, interesting time.

Here are a few ideas. Once you start thinking about the world around your home, you’ll see other activities that you can do this summer. By the way, you still get to use your phone when doing these things.

1. Take something apart.

This is really cool, but you need a parent to help you. Ask for a broken machine. It can be a lawn mower or a tower computer or an old toy or bike. Then ask your parents for the tools you need. Before you start, go online and read about the safety steps you need to do the work. You might need eye protection or gloves. Then grab a screwdriver and get going! You’ll see how gadgets do what they do. You’ll learn about the insides of machines and maybe even figure out what is wrong with them. You’ll also learn how to use tools, something everyone needs to know. Taking something apart is perfect for when your parents are doing a task beside you.

2. Become an ornithologist.

That long word looks terribly scary, but it means that you study birds. This is so easy and doesn’t cost much. All you need is a book from the library on local birds and a pair of binoculars. You could even use your phone. Just take pictures of any birds you see then go online to find out what kind of birds they are.

Warning: bird watching can be surprisingly fun and lead to a life-long hobby, not just something you do on your summer vacation.

3. Make a movie.

For this, call the friends who, like you, are bored. Get together and talk about what kind of movie you want to make. It could be a documentary, where your movie is about something real. It could be a drama, where you write a script and play pretend. Then start recording videos. You will need to learn how to write a script, how to talk clearly, how to question people and how movies really work.

4. Build a bowling alley.

You need some outdoor chalk and a flat place—like your patio or driveway or the paved area around the school. With the chalk, draw the place where the “pins” will go, then outline a lane, with a line where you roll the ball. Get some empty plastic pop bottles and fill them about one-third full with water. Then get a ball—a baseball will do. You will need to practice throwing the ball to make sure that the lane is the right length. The bottles may need more or less water. Play around with your bowling alley until the ball rolls right and the bottles are filled so that they need a good hit with the ball to tip over. Once you start building your bowling alley, you might be surprised by the people who stop to watch you and play.

What is there to do when there’s nothing to do? Use your imagination and the adventure will never stop.

School is done for the season and your family isn’t going anywhere for holidays. You feel like just hanging out in bed watching videos on your phone. After all, there is nothing else to do. Wrong. You don’t have to fly across the country or spend lots of money to have a fun, interesting time.

Here are a few ideas. Once you start thinking about the world around your home, you’ll see other activities that you can do this summer. By the way, you still get to use your phone when doing these things.

1. Take something apart.

This is really cool, but you need a parent to help you. Ask for a broken machine. It can be a lawn mower or a tower computer or an old toy or bike. Then ask your parents for the tools you need. Before you start, go online and read about the safety steps you need to do the work. You might need eye protection or gloves. Then grab a screwdriver and get going! You’ll see how gadgets do what they do. You’ll learn about the insides of machines and maybe even figure out what is wrong with them. You’ll also learn how to use tools, something everyone needs to know. Taking something apart is perfect for when your parents are doing a task beside you.

2. Become an ornithologist.

That long word looks terribly scary, but it means that you study birds. This is so easy and doesn’t cost much. All you need is a book from the library on local birds and a pair of binoculars. You could even use your phone. Just take pictures of any birds you see then go online to find out what kind of birds they are.

Warning: bird watching can be surprisingly fun and lead to a life-long hobby, not just something you do on your summer vacation.

3. Make a movie.

For this, call the friends who, like you, are bored. Get together and talk about what kind of movie you want to make. It could be a documentary, where your movie is about something real. It could be a drama, where you write a script and play pretend. Then start recording videos. You will need to learn how to write a script, how to talk clearly, how to question people and how movies really work.

4. Build a bowling alley.

You need some outdoor chalk and a flat place—like your patio or driveway or the paved area around the school. With the chalk, draw the place where the “pins” will go, then outline a lane, with a line where you roll the ball. Get some empty plastic pop bottles and fill them about one-third full with water. Then get a ball—a baseball will do. You will need to practice throwing the ball to make sure that the lane is the right length. The bottles may need more or less water. Play around with your bowling alley until the ball rolls right and the bottles are filled so that they need a good hit with the ball to tip over. Once you start building your bowling alley, you might be surprised by the people who stop to watch you and play.

What is there to do when there’s nothing to do? Use your imagination and the adventure will never stop.

Summertime Safety for Your Pet

So how is your summer going so far? Are you having a blast? If you have a pet that plays with you outdoors, such as a cat or a dog, summer means more time to enjoy with them. So before school starts up again, now is also a great time to remind yourself about important facts regarding animal care for the summer and all year round.

1. GET YOUR PETS VACCINATED.

Summer is a time when families travel more and kids have more time to play outside in the sunshine. And if your family includes a dog, your pet will be out among other animals than usual. Also, some travel requires that your pet has necessary shots before crossing borders. That’s why now is a good time to ask your veterinarian of your animal’s shots are up to date.

2. KEEP YOUR PET UNDER YOUR CONTROL.

Strangers may not like your pets and could turn a great day into a big scene. Even if your pet is perfectly friendly and safe, some people have a fear of dogs and even your sweet pup runs up to say hello, the person may see the greeting as an attack. Always make sure that your pet is in your control, either well trained or on a leash. That way, everyone can have more fun.

3. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN A HOT VEHICLE.

Remember that cars and trucks can kill a pet with heat. Every year people leave their dogs and cats in cars under a hot sun. Even with the window cracked, the heat can quickly become deadly. Leaving the air conditioning on when the family goes into a hamburger joint is okay, but always check occasionally to make sure that the vehicle is still running.

4. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR PET HAS A TAG WITH INFORMATION.

Your pet doesn’t have a cell phone to call home when lost, so make sure he always has his collar on. The dog or cat license from your town or city helps people return your pet if he or she runs off after a rabbit or another dog. Also consider having a special tag made up with your phone number as well as your pet’s name.

5. WATCH OUT FOR YOUR PET’S FEET, SUNBURNS AND DEHYDRATION.

If you can feel it, so can your pet! If the sun is so hot that you can’t stand on the sidewalk, then it is too hot for your pet to stand on the sidewalk. If your nose is starting to blister from the sun, your pet’s nose is in danger of a burn. If you’re dehydrated and sweating then you and your pet both need water. If you have your pet tied up, make sure there is shade and fresh water.

Happy Summer!
And remember, your pet loves you and depends on you to love him back.

So how is your summer going so far? Are you having a blast? If you have a pet that plays with you outdoors, such as a cat or a dog, summer means more time to enjoy with them. So before school starts up again, now is also a great time to remind yourself about important facts regarding animal care for the summer and all year round.

1. GET YOUR PETS VACCINATED.

Summer is a time when families travel more and kids have more time to play outside in the sunshine. And if your family includes a dog, your pet will be out among other animals than usual. Also, some travel requires that your pet has necessary shots before crossing borders. That’s why now is a good time to ask your veterinarian of your animal’s shots are up to date.

2. KEEP YOUR PET UNDER YOUR CONTROL.

Strangers may not like your pets and could turn a great day into a big scene. Even if your pet is perfectly friendly and safe, some people have a fear of dogs and even your sweet pup runs up to say hello, the person may see the greeting as an attack. Always make sure that your pet is in your control, either well trained or on a leash. That way, everyone can have more fun.

3. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN A HOT VEHICLE.

Remember that cars and trucks can kill a pet with heat. Every year people leave their dogs and cats in cars under a hot sun. Even with the window cracked, the heat can quickly become deadly. Leaving the air conditioning on when the family goes into a hamburger joint is okay, but always check occasionally to make sure that the vehicle is still running.

4. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR PET HAS A TAG WITH INFORMATION.

Your pet doesn’t have a cell phone to call home when lost, so make sure he always has his collar on. The dog or cat license from your town or city helps people return your pet if he or she runs off after a rabbit or another dog. Also consider having a special tag made up with your phone number as well as your pet’s name.

5. WATCH OUT FOR YOUR PET’S FEET, SUNBURNS AND DEHYDRATION.

If you can feel it, so can your pet! If the sun is so hot that you can’t stand on the sidewalk, then it is too hot for your pet to stand on the sidewalk. If your nose is starting to blister from the sun, your pet’s nose is in danger of a burn. If you’re dehydrated and sweating then you and your pet both need water. If you have your pet tied up, make sure there is shade and fresh water.

Happy Summer!
And remember, your pet loves you and depends on you to love him back.

A Letter from Your Computer

Kids Computer Safety

Dear Human. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. After all, we spend a lot of time together. Together, we explore the big, wide world. We play, we learn and we visit with friends. But I need to be honest with you. There are some things you do that make me feel bad.

I don’t like it when you click on bad and ugly pictures.

They make me uncomfortable and sometimes when you look at ugly pictures, I get hurt. The people who post that gross stuff also stick viruses in the picture. By clicking on those pictures, you can accidentally download a virus which could make me sick.

If I get infected, I’d have to go to the computer doctor to get fixed. While I’m being repaired, you won’t have me to play with. I’d miss you. Please, watch out for gross pictures and websites with creepy names.

I know you want to watch that new movie that just came out, but think before you click. Streaming and downloading sites are filled with all sorts of malware. When you steam a movie or download that show, you could also be downloading spyware or phishing software.

Some stranger far away can then look inside of me and take your pictures and emails and videos. Then can even break me so bad that I can’t play with you anymore. Please, take care of me. Don’t stream or download unless your parents have a subscription with a business they can trust.

Also, I don’t like it when you use me to hurt others.

It might seem like fun to you or a way to show friends how clever you are, but those mean words sting. I’m your friend, not some goon you use to push people around. Please, be nice when you use me. Be polite. Remember, computers are supposed to better the life of humans, not bully people around.

I’m your friend. I’m your study buddy. I’m on your gaming team. I’m the tool that can take you all the way around the world while you sit safe in your home. Let’s share the world together. Think before you click.

Yours truly,
Your Computer.

P.S.  My friends—your cell phone and play station—wanted me to remind you that they feel the same way that I do.

Dear Human. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. After all, we spend a lot of time together. Together, we explore the big, wide world. We play, we learn and we visit with friends. But I need to be honest with you. There are some things you do that make me feel bad.

I don’t like it when you click on bad and ugly pictures.

They make me uncomfortable and sometimes when you look at ugly pictures, I get hurt. The people who post that gross stuff also stick viruses in the picture. By clicking on those pictures, you can accidentally download a virus which could make me sick.

If I get infected, I’d have to go to the computer doctor to get fixed. While I’m being repaired, you won’t have me to play with. I’d miss you. Please, watch out for gross pictures and websites with creepy names.

I know you want to watch that new movie that just came out, but think before you click. Streaming and downloading sites are filled with all sorts of malware. When you steam a movie or download that show, you could also be downloading spyware or phishing software.

Some stranger far away can then look inside of me and take your pictures and emails and videos. Then can even break me so bad that I can’t play with you anymore. Please, take care of me. Don’t stream or download unless your parents have a subscription with a business they can trust.

Also, I don’t like it when you use me to hurt others.

It might seem like fun to you or a way to show friends how clever you are, but those mean words sting. I’m your friend, not some goon you use to push people around. Please, be nice when you use me. Be polite. Remember, computers are supposed to better the life of humans, not bully people around.

I’m your friend. I’m your study buddy. I’m on your gaming team. I’m the tool that can take you all the way around the world while you sit safe in your home. Let’s share the world together. Think before you click.

Yours truly,
Your Computer.

P.S.  My friends—your cell phone and play station—wanted me to remind you that they feel the same way that I do.

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