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STEAM

Science

 

Our future depends on a public that can use science for personal decision-making and to participate in civic, political, and cultural discussions related to science. Though we have national goals for science education, science is often pushed to the side—particularly at the elementary school level. There are multiple reasons for science to be a core part of elementary school learning. It can support: (a) development of a knowledgeable citizenry, (b) meaningful learning of language and mathematics, (c) wonderment about how the natural world works, and (d) preparation for STEM-related careers.

Technology


Technology is everywhere, entwined in almost every part of our lives. It affects how we shop, socialize, connect, play, and most importantly learn. With their great and increasing presence in our lives it only makes sense to have mobile technology in the classroom. Yet there are some schools that are delaying this imminent future of using technology in the classroom as the valuable learning tool it is.

 

Here is a list of ten reasons your school should implement technology in the classroom.

1) If used correctly, will help prepare students for their future careers, which will inevitably include the use of wireless technology.

2) Integrating technology into the classroom is definitely a great way to reach diversity in learning styles.

3) It gives students the chance to interact with their classmates more by encouraging collaboration.

4) Technology helps the teachers prepare students for the real world environment. As our nation becomes increasingly more technology-dependent, it becomes even more necessary that to be successful citizens, students must learn to be tech-savvy.

5) Integrating technology in education everyday helps students stay engaged. Today’s students love technology so they are sure to be interested in learning if they can use the tools they love.

6) With technology, the classroom is a happier place. Students are excited about being able to use technology and therefore are more apt to learn.

7) When mobile technology is readily available in the classroom, students are able to access the most up-to-date information quicker and easier than ever before.

8) The traditional passive learning mold is broken. With technology in the classroom the teacher becomes the encourager, adviser, and coach.

9) Students become more responsible. Technology helps students take more control over their own learning. They learn how to make their own decisions and actually think for themselves.

10) Student can have access to digital textbooks that are constantly updated and often more vivid, helpful, creative, and a lot cheaper than those old heavy books.

 

Taken from: http://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/10-reasons-today-s-students-need-technology-in-the-classroom

Engineering


 

 

Engineering is a natural platform for the integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content into K-12 classrooms, while sparking creativity!  Research around effective learning in K-12 classrooms demonstrates that an engineering approach to identifying and solving problems is valuable across all disciplines.

Improve Student Learning

Children learn through experiences, and the earlier we create STEM-based hands-on learning experiences, the better. Engineering design, by its nature, is an inquiry-based pedagogical strategy that promotes learning across disciplines. Engineering curricula introduces K-12 students to everyday applications of science, mathematics, technology and engineering that match their values and view of the world.

Introduce Exciting Career Paths

We are surrounded everyday by the products and systems designed by engineers, and all of our lives are enriched by the work of engineers. , Engineering is used as a vehicle to integrate math and science fundamentals through open-ended, hands-on discovery that poses questions to students—why does this work and how it is relevant to your lives? As technological literacy is enhanced, students begin to understand the role engineers play in everything we see around us, inspiring them to explore a world of possibilities.

Don't Just Take Our Word For It!

Incorporating mathematical and scientific fundamentals via engineering—taught through a design-based methodology that infuses engineering habits of mind—has proven to be a highly effective model for STEM education. The National Academy of Engineering found that engineering in K-12 education has the power to improve learning and student achievement in science and math, as well as develop student interest in, and preparedness for, the STEM workforce.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), released in April 2013, were developed to help improve K-12 STEM education through actively engaging students in science and engineering practices while deepening their understanding of the core ideas and interrelationships in these fields over multiple years of exploration. The ultimate goal of NGSS is to increase public understanding and appreciation of the role science and engineering play in everyday life. Students need the opportunity to develop students’ skills and knowledge in ways that help them succeed in today’s increasingly-technological world.

 

Taken from https://www.teachengineering.org/k12engineering/why

Arts


 

Here are the top 10 ways that the arts help kids learn and grow:

1. Creativity. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the arts allow kids to express themselves better than math or science. As the Washington Post says, In an arts program, your child will be asked to recite a monologue in 6 different ways, create a painting that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children have practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.

2. Improved Academic Performance. The arts don’t just develop a child’s creativity—the skills they learn because of them spill over into academic achievement. PBS says, A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.

3. Motor Skills. This applies mostly to younger kids who do art or play an instrument. Simple things like holding a paintbrush and scribbling with a crayon are an important element to developing a child’s fine motor skills. According to the National Institutes of Health, developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors.

4. Confidence. While mastering a subject certainly builds a student’s confidence, there is something special about participating in the arts. Getting up on a stage and singing gives kids a chance to step outside their comfort zone. As they improve and see their own progress, their self-confidence will continue to grow.

5. Visual Learning. Especially for young kids, drawing, painting, and sculpting in art class help develop visual-spatial skills. Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University says, Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.

6. Decision Making. The arts strengthen problem solving and critical thinking skills. How do I express this feeling through my dance? How should I play this character? Learning how to make choices and decisions will certainly carry over into their education and other parts of life—as this is certainly a valuable skill in adulthood.

7. Perseverance. I know from personal experience that the arts can be challenging. When I was trying to learn and master the clarinet, there were many times when I became so frustrated that I wanted to quit. But I didn’t. After practicing hard, I learned that hard work and perseverance pay off. This mindset will certainly matter as they grow—especially during their career where they will likely be asked to continually develop new skills and work through difficult projects.

8. Focus. As you persevere through painting or singing or learning a part in a play, focus is imperative. And certainly focus is vital for studying and learning in class as well as doing a job later in life.

9. Collaboration. Many of the arts such as band, choir, and theater require kids to work together. They must share responsibility and compromise to achieve their common goal. Kids learn that their contribution to the group is integral to its success—even if they don’t have the solo or lead role.

10. Accountability. Just like collaboration, kids in the arts learn that they are accountable for their contributions to the group. If they drop the ball or mess up, they realize that it’s important to take responsibility for what they did. Mistakes are a part of life, and learning to accept them, fix them, and move on will serve kids well as they grow older.

 

Adapted from:  http://www.learningliftoff.com/10-reasons-arts-in-education-important-kids/#.WVVyUumQw2w

Written by Lauren Martin

Mathematics


 

Many kids ask their math teacher why learning a particular mathematical concept or skill is important. When helping kids out with their homework, many parents may wonder the same thing. Mark H. Karwan, the Dean of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Buffalo, points out that parental attitudes -- positive or negative -- can influence children’s attitudes about math, and ultimately their performance. Encourage your child to excel in this area, as he’ll have increased functioning and opportunities in his life and career as a result.

Math's Glorious History

In the 1920s, the teaching of algebra and geometry in the United States was regarded as an “intellectual luxury.” In fact, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education referred to algebra as a “useless subject,” according to author David Klein in his paper "A Brief History of of American K-12 Mathematics Education in the 20th Century." During this time, students were taught basic math skills that had immediate practical applications. After World War II, policymakers began to advocate for a stronger math curriculum, a movement that increased with the space race of the 1950s. In the 21st century, schools are working to increase students’ higher math skills so that the citizens of the United States can be competitive in a global economy.

 

Teaches Logical and Critical Thinking

Math teaches logic and order. You can expect a mathematical equation to have a predictable outcome, and precise steps must be followed in order to attain that result. The discipline of mind that children develop in math class can carry over into everyday life. Companies know this, as some businesses will hire math majors based on the presumption that students who are good at math have learned how to think. Math can also provide a vehicle through which critical-thinking skills are put into practice and refined. An example of mathematical critical thinking is when students are required to explain how they arrived at a solution to a complex problem or to describe the ideas behind a formula or procedure.

Teaches Life Skills

It is next to impossible to live an independent life without basic math skills. Children begin to learn about money in the early elementary grades, and in later grades can calculate percentages and fractions. People must have these skills in order to follow a recipe, evaluate whether or not an item on clearance is a good deal and manage a budget, among other things. Financial analyst Mike Walker points out that kids must be proficient at math in order to buy a car without getting taken for “the wrong kind of ride.”

Supports Continuing Education and Careers

Even entry-level jobs in fields seemingly unrelated to mathematics require math skills. Cashiers must be able to count money accurately, while a customer service representative may need to be able to discuss a discrepancy in a customer’s bill. Students who are skilled at math and who seek a higher degree will find that high-paying careers such as engineering, medicine and research become available to them. Students who are not interested in these careers must nonetheless have advanced math skills, as they are required to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in any field. Students who have better math skills than their peers may obtain scholarships based on their superior performance on assessment tests such as the SAT and ACT.

Your Daily Math

Students may ask why math is necessary, but quality math instruction must ensure that this question is asked infrequently. Instruction should incorporate techniques that are designed to demonstrate to children the relevancy of math to their daily lives, the world around them and their future careers. Math teachers must strive to provide a real-world context for the skills that they teach and must tell students the rationale behind the concept they are teaching.

 

Taken from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/560817-activities-for-kids-about-attitude/

Written by: Elise Wile