Academic journal article Science Scope

STEM Integration: A Tall Order

Academic journal article Science Scope

STEM Integration: A Tall Order

Article excerpt

One has to look no further than the Next Generation Science Standards, which focus on the integration of best practices using the research about how we know students learn, to understand what is meant by STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) integration. The shift from teaching math and science in silos to intertwining them with technology and engineering makes education more relevant to students' lives through exposure to authentic problems. As an added benefit, STEM education fosters innovation, problem solving, and technology literacy (Morrison 2006).

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STEM integration is not without its challenges, however. Classroom activities grounded in an integrated STEM approach demand that teachers focus on big ideas in multiple subjects that are connected or interrelated. Teacher efficacy regarding content knowledge and comfort with subjects for which they may be unprepared to teach, the cost of equipment to support STEM-related activities, and administrative support are all factors that can impede successful STEM integration. The lack of standard curriculum and the difficulty in creating meaningful assessments that are interdisciplinary in nature are also barriers to effective STEM integration (Honey, Pearson, and Schweingruber 2014).

All of this can leave middle school science teachers scratching their heads when it comes to picturing what STEM integration should look like in their classroom. …

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