If you’re passionate about building learning environments steeped in the Four Cs1—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity—then an MS in Education with a specialization in STEM Education (Grades K-8) may be the right next move in your education career.
In Walden University’s STEM Education specialization, you’ll learn to become the kind of STEM educator who can teach, engage, and inspire students in the STEM fields by creating compelling and innovative lessons. In the MSEd course The Effective STEM Scholar-Practitioner, master’s in education students gain vital insights through required reading assignments like “Six Characteristics of a Great STEM Lesson” by Anne Jolly. Whether you’re at the “What is STEM?” phase of discovery or already exploring STEM careers, read along to learn what makes a STEM lesson great. Here is an excerpt from Jolly’s article:2
STEM is more than just a grouping of subject areas. It is a movement to develop the deep mathematical and scientific underpinnings students need to be competitive in the 21st-century workforce.
But this movement goes far beyond preparing students for specific jobs. STEM develops a set of thinking, reasoning, teamwork, investigative, and creative skills that students can use in all areas of their lives. STEM isn’t a stand-alone class—it’s a way to intentionally incorporate different subjects across an existing curriculum.
Here’s a quick rundown of the STEM acronym:
Technology: One surprise—the STEM definition for technology includes any product made by humans to meet a want or need. (So much for all the technology being digital.) A chair is technology; so is a pencil. Any product kids create to solve a problem can be regarded as technology.
STEM lessons often seem similar to science lessons and experiments, and in some ways, they are. After all, genuine science experiences are hands-on and inquiry-based. But if you look at the basics of an “ideal” STEM lesson, you’ll see some substantial differences.
Here are six characteristics of a great STEM lesson. I hope you’ll use these guidelines to collaborate with other teachers and create lessons that apply technology to what students are learning in science and math (and other subjects as well).
STEM lessons apply rigorous math and science content your students are learning.
In your STEM lessons, you should purposely connect and integrate content from math and science courses. Plan to collaborate with other math and/or science teachers to gain insight into how course objectives can be interwoven in a given lesson. Students can then begin to see that science and math are not isolated subjects, but work together to solve problems. This adds relevance to their math and science learning. In STEM, students also use technology in appropriate ways and design their own products (also technologies).
Best-case scenario: Involve an art teacher as well. Art plays a critical role in product design. Teams will want their products to be attractive, appealing, and marketable. When the arts are added, the STEM acronym becomes STEAM.
STEM classes, by contrast, always provide opportunity for multiple right answers and approaches. The STEM environment offers rich possibilities for creative solutions. When designing and testing prototypes, teams may flounder and fail to solve the problem. That’s okay. They are expected to learn from what went wrong and try again. Failure is considered a positive step on the way to discovering and designing solutions.
With jobs in STEM fields projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022,3 teachers can help meet future demand by igniting students’ love of science, technology, engineering, and math.
And choosing to pursue a master’s in education online with Walden University lets you remain fully engaged in your education career while building for the future. Broaden your knowledge and advance your career with an online master’s in education. With 17 curriculum-rich specializations in the MSEd degree program, there’s a niche just waiting for you.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Education degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
2Walden MSEd curriculum source: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55560e1ae4b0cf3d98431253/t/55653060e4b08f0e4c55e8d4/1432694880477/Six+Characteristics+of+a+Great+STEM+Lesson+-+Education+Week+Teacher.pdf
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.