Frequently asked questions
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In today’s competitive economy, more and more employers are searching for high-skilled workers with STEM-related skills: problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, multi-tasking, and the ability to work collaboratively with a diverse group of colleagues.
What is STEM education and why is it important?
The NYC Department of Education’s STEM Education Framework describes STEM education as a methodology that “involves the study of science and mathematics, and the meaningful integration of technology and engineering to provide opportunities for innovative problem-solving. Using the engineering design process, students identify problems, develop and test possible solutions, and ultimately reach a solution.”
Younger students need experiences with engineering and technology if they’re going to succeed in our 21st-century world — a world that increasingly depends on these disciplines. The more we watch children the more we realize that they have a natural knack for engineering but our traditional rigid Maths and Language curricula actually dampens their ability and creativity, while the modern world requires problem solving skills as a basic literacy.
To tackle engineering e.g. students may read about a native Iranian girl, Fatima, who is snapping pictures near her tribal home when she discovers oil on the surface of a close by river. Fatima explores the extent of damage to the eco system on which her community depends, seeing the far reaching social and environmental effects of water of pollution. These small activities have a far reaching impact where students develop critical thinking skills.
Problem solving skills require concrete examples with hands on solutions because this means far more to children then abstract concepts like fractions, decimals,etc. We aim to develop students thinking creatively, critically and collaboratively So that they will be better prepared for life in general.
By incorporating STEM education into the regular curriculum, elementary schools are in the perfect position to foster in girls and boys, at a young age, an interest in these subjects that continues through to high school, college, and the workplace.
What are the benefits of STEM education?
Today’s world requires our work force to possess strong skills in critical thinking and working collaboratively; STEM education prepares students for these challenges and offers them expanded career opportunities in the 21st Century.
My child is not gifted...is STEM for him/her?
All students benefit from integrated STEM education; it teaches independent innovation and allows students to explore subjects in greater depth. The hands-on nature of STEM instruction increases the likelihood of success among students of all learning styles and abilities.
Will reading and literacy still be taught?
Reading and literacy skills are the building blocks to all learning, and therefore are integral to successful STEM education. Literacy will continue to be a focus of teaching and learning as a stand-alone curriculum in addition to being integrated into STEM activities.
How do music and art fit into STEM?
Music and art play an important role in STEM education as they help nurture the creativity required for students to develop unique and innovative solutions to problems as well as to communicate their ideas effectively. No invention would be successful without attention to aesthetics–studying music and art gives students the ability to better present and market their solutions to engineering problems.
How do I know if this STEM school is "right" for my child?
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I have heard this is a career-focused school. Aren't K-5 students too young to decide what they want to be when they grow up?
Enrolling in a STEM Education is not a decision to become an engineer or a scientist. But a child who likes science might be more interested in other core lessons if they are presented with ties to science topics. And a child who might think, “I’m not good at science and math,” might discover new joy in these subjects through the hands-on approach of STEM. This program is not about having students make a career decision. The program is about making learning relevant. As students learn about core content, they will be exposed to how this applies to the “real world.” Who does this type of work? Where is it found? Why is it important?
Is STEM education meant only for high ability students?
No. Students of all learning abilities, including children with disabilities, will benefit from the STEM program. Studies show hands-on learning is beneficial to children who have been disengaged (bored) with school. STEM students come from all backgrounds and abilities.
What is a STEM proficient student?
STEM proficient students are able to answer complex questions, investigate global issues, and develop solutions to challenges and real-world problems while applying the rigor of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content in a seamless fashion. STEM proficient students are logical thinkers, effective communicators and are technologically, scientifically, and mathematically literate.
What is a STEM centric unit or lesson?
A STEM centric unit or lesson incorporates our STEM standards of practice and reflects the definition of STEM education. STEM Centric lesson or units begin with our grade level appropriate curriculum standards. A complex question, real world problem or global issue is identified that relates to the content standards. Trans-disciplinary connections are considered and applied. STEM career connections are incorporated and a product, process or action is developed for students to summarize or address the real-world problem.
Why should schools focus on implementing STEM education when there is no accountability for it?
While there is not an official STEM standardized test, STEM aligns with concepts that are tested. Therefore, if a school is practicing exemplary STEM education then students will be exposed to skills and concepts that will be tested.
What are some future job opportunities predicted for STEM fields?
We know that our students need to be prepared for jobs that are not yet on the radar. We need to prepare students to be able to compete in a knowledge-based economy. Students need 21st Century skills of adaptability, complex communication, social skills, non-routine problem solving, self-management, self-development, and systems thinking. Our students will be required to be innovative and creative problem solvers, designers, entrepreneurs, developers, and inventors.
Which exam will my child sit for after Grade 10?
Your child will have an option to decide for either the national (Matriculation) or CAIE (O & A Levels)