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Understanding the Importance of STEM Education in Elementary Schools

In recent years, STEM has become a buzzword in the education world. It’s the term that is helping to build bright futures for our students.

STEM Education: Why Beginning Early Builds a Strong Foundation for Learning

STEM Education: Why Beginning Early Builds a Strong Foundation for Learning

In recent years, STEM has become a buzzword in the education world. It’s the term that is helping to build bright futures for our students.

In the late 1990s, the National Science Foundation (NSF) coined the term ‘STEM,’ short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, to describe the integration of these four disciplines in education.

This shift towards STEM education came about because traditional approaches to teaching math and science do not prepare students for the complex and evolving challenges of the 21st century. STEM education is a holistic response to understanding these subjects and looking toward the future.

STARS Academy embraces the significance of STEM education in preparing our students for the world of tomorrow, so we incorporate it into our curriculum from elementary school onwards.

What is STEM Education?

But what exactly is STEM education? It’s an interdisciplinary approach that merges these four disciplines, giving students a comprehensive understanding of how they work together to solve real-world problems.

STEM education focuses on:

  • Hands-on learning
  • Problem-solving 
  • Critical thinking 

In the real world, science, technology, engineering, and math are all connected when it comes to research and innovation. However, how these subjects are taught in schools doesn’t always show this connection.

By including STEM education in elementary school classes, students can see how math and science are used to solve problems in the real world. This makes learning more engaging and relatable for everyone. 

The Importance of STEM Education in Elementary Schools

Many people think STEM is just for middle and high school students, but research shows that it’s important to introduce STEM concepts in elementary school. This helps students build a strong foundation in these subjects.

When elementary students are engaged in STEM, they develop a love for these subjects, understand how they connect to other disciplines, and are encouraged to pursue STEM-related careers in the future.

Early exposure to STEM education:

Nurturing these skills from a young age sets our students up for success in all areas of life, not just STEM fields.

Why Choose a Career in STEM?

Considering the pace of technological advancement and the growing demand for innovations we’ve witnessed within our lifetime, the future of today’s students will rely heavily on STEM applications.

  • STEM jobs are projected to grow 10.8% between 2022 and 2032, almost four times faster than non-STEM jobs.
  • The U.S. will need to fill about 3.5 million STEM jobs by 2025, but 2 million may be unfilled due to a skills gap.
  • STEM workers earn more. The current median annual wage for all STEM occupations is $97,980 compared with $44,670 for non-STEM jobs.

Providing young students with a strong STEM education helps bridge this gap and prepares them for success in these high-demand fields.

Integrating STEM into the Elementary School Curriculum

STEM education is a core part of STARS Academy’s curriculum using Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI), a research-based approach that appreciates students’ intuitive mathematical thinking and emphasizes problem-solving.

In collaboration with CGI, STARS engages students with the Investigations in Number, Data, and Space®  curriculum, fostering a deep understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts such as numbers and operations, geometry, and early algebra.

This approach involves: 

  • Direct instruction
  • Independent exploration
  • Hands-on activities
  • Math games

This approach allows students to build fluency in:

  • Basic computation
  • Understanding mathematical concepts
  • Developing mathematical reasoning skills

The main objective of STEM education in elementary schools is to help students build confidence in cultivating foundational skills.

Preparing STARS Students for a Successful Future in STEM and Beyond

By giving STARS Academy students meaningful opportunities to engage with STEM subjects, we are helping them develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in our rapidly changing world.

STEM education in elementary school prepares kids for the future— even if they don’t pursue a future in a STEM field. The problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity fostered by a STEM education are invaluable skills that can be applied to any area of life, including the arts!

Whether STARS students become scientists, engineers, artists, or performers, we are confident they will be well-prepared for whatever the future holds!