Many have asked me during the course of my 35 years in education whether students are ore difficult now compared to when I was in school hundreds of years ago. I typically reply that children are children, and they are not that different than they were in previous years. However, there is one area in which I see students struggling to a greater degree today.
Recently I ran across an article by Sarah Wiggins titled “What is STEM and why should I teach it?” (http://www.morethanaworksheet.com/2015/06/01/what-is-s-t-e-m-and-why-should-i-teach-it/)
In the article, Ms. Wiggins listed her top ten reasons for making STEM instruction the foundation for your math and science curriculum.
1. STEM has real world application
2. STEM fosters problem-solving skills
Recently I read an article at Smithsonian.com that told how Finland’s educational system had gone from a distant also-ran to a world leader over the past 40 years.
In a global study in 2000, Finnish students were first in reading. In 2003 they led in math. By 2006 they were first in science.
There are two undeniable facts about S.T.E.M. instruction (science, technology, engineering, and math). One is that it has blossomed in recent years. The second is that it can be expensive. Robotics kits, S.T.E.M. labs, computers, and other tools don’t come cheaply. However, there are ways to get a lot of S.T.E.M. mileage with minimal investment. Over the coming months, I will be delivering my “S.T.E.M. on a Shoestring” presentation at two conferences. Here are some ways to implement S.T.E.M. instruction for pennies. Click the links to see examples.
My grandfather loved to take afternoon walks. On the warm days of May, he would often meet a senior walking home from high school. In his small town, everyone knew everyone, so he would engage the student in conversation. “So you are graduating in a few weeks?”
“Yes sir,” came the senior’s proud reply.
“Then how many board feet are in a twelve foot long two by eight piece of lumber?”
The startled senior would stammer and admit that he had no idea. At that point my grandfather would lean in and say, “I could solve that problem in seventh grade, and they are giving a high school diploma to you who cannot even make a guess!” Then he would walk away like a gunslinger who had left his nemesis sprawled in the dusty street.
A recent article published in the USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times holds hope for the over abundance of testing in schools. (Click here) In the article Obama urges that we cap mandated testing to no more than 2% of classroom time, or about 3½ days per year.
When my son was about a year old, he took his first steps. My wife and I sat a few feet apart and he took turns stumbling from one of us to the other. He wasn’t very steady on his feet. He staggered and fell down. Yet his failure never caused him to give up. In fact, his grin belied his rickety efforts. He laughed even when he fell down. We simply helped him back up and he tried again. He was excited by his progress instead of being discouraged by his lack of expertise.
If I had to give him a grade on walking, he would have earned an F that day based on standardized benchmark data for the
I give up!” How often do we hear our students say that in the classroom? What causes them to quit so quickly in the learning process when they will persevere for hours on a video game? How do we foster perseverance in our students?
These are questions that teacher, author, and consultant Rick Wormeli addressed in an article published recently in Association of Middle Level Education (AMLE) magazine.
He based his answers on the work of psychologist Carol Dweck who promotes a growth mindset
Mistletoe School, where I teach, is transitioning to a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) academy for the upcoming school year. In STEM curriculum these four domains are integrated during instruction. Language arts, history, and electives can also be interwoven if desired. Students work on project-based instruction that incorporates a loop of research, design, building, testing, evaluation, and improvement. Aside from the excitement our staff and students have in anticipation of this, here are our main reasons for making such a bold move.
A dozen years ago I had an eighth grader who didn’t know his multiplication facts. That’s not unusual. What was surprising is that he was my top math student. Four years later he received a six-figure scholarship to a major university where he
Brad Fulton is an award winning teacher and nationally recognized provider of professional development with over three decades of experience in education.
What our customers are saying:
© 2013 by Brad Fulton and TTT Press