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What is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math but these four letters represent more than subject areas to be studied.  These four discipline inherently lend themselves to problem solving and critical thinking.  What does that mean?

In science we use the scientific method to solve problems and answer questions through experimentation.  Technology is created or utilized to make life easier – to solve problems or enable the completion of a project.  Engineers use the design process, much like scientists use the scientific method, to work through problems or to invent new products.  Mathematicians use a variety of strategies to work through problems.  Notice a theme?  Problems need to be solved and people are working toward the successful completion of a project or functionality of a product.  All of these disciplines should be student centered.  They all follow a process of exploration, failure and re-design or re-structuring.

What has been lacking in many educational settings are the opportunities for students to take risks, problem solve for themselves, create on their own and learn some ideas may fail, but that is part of the process of final success.  STEM is not a checklist for teachers to use when planning lessons, “Do I have a science activity- check, are my students using technology – check”.  STEM is a way of teaching that is no longer teacher centered in the form of disseminating information but is student centered in the form of exploration and deep, meaningful, diverse learning.

Macon County Schools is embarking on this exciting challenge with support from the school board, the Golden Leaf Foundation, local businesses and community members.  What will this look like in our community?

Mission Statement for Macon County Schools STEM Program

STEM is creating a community of problem solvers to lead Macon County into the future.

 

Why?

To empower students to think critically about issues facing our community and problem solve real solutions so that our home (local to global) will thrive and adapt to a continually changing world.

 

How?

Goals: 

  • Inspire community of learners1 to empower students with problem solving and critical thinking skills.
    • Professional Development-change in teaching paradigm – PBL
    • Internships
    • Teacher Externships
    • Student Conferences
  • Provide new opportunities for our community of learners to understand and implement 21st century skills2 which will empower us to grow.
    • Robotics
    • STEM Family Nights
    • Internships
    • Teacher Externships
    • Career Exploration
  • Provide resources to our community of learners so their creativity and productivity is not restricted.
    • 3D Printers
    • Field Trip Funds
    • Materials and Equipment
    • Supplemental grants
    • Community experts
    • Scholarships
    • Curriculum support
    • Tech support
  • Encourage and support relationships in our community of learners which will encourage collaboration and inspire innovative solutions.
    • Robotics
    • STEM Family Nights
    • Internships
    • Teacher Externships
    • Career Exploration
    • Press
    • Outreach
    • Leadership Team
  • Community of Learners – parents, teachers, administration, business, industry, students
  • Learning Skills (Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Collaborating, Communicating) Literacy Skills (Information Literacy, Media Literacy, Technology Literacy), Life Skills (Flexibility, Initiative, Social Skills, Productivity, Leadership)

 

Vision for Macon County Schools STEM Program: 

A community of innovators working together to solve problems and initiate projects which will have a positive impact on our home and future.

 

Jennifer Love

STEM Coordinator

Macon County Schools

828-524-3314 Ext. 315

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