Increasingly, business leaders, educators, industry experts, and others are rallying around the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in education. This is a key issue for K-12 education and it’s a requirement to create the kind of workforce our country needs.
If the United States is to maintain its economic power, then we will need a STEM-educated workforce that can meet the demands of business in an increasingly complex and technology-driven economy.
Children at birth are natural scientists, engineers, and problem-solvers. They consider the world around them and try to make sense of it the best way they know how: touching, tasting, building, dismantling, creating, discovering, and exploring. For kids, this isn’t education. It’s fun!
Yet, research documents that by the time students reach fourth grade, a third of boys and girls have lost an interest in science. By eighth grade, almost 50 percent have lost interest or deemed it irrelevant to their education or future plans. At this point in the K–12 system, the STEM pipeline has narrowed to half. That means millions of students have tuned out or lack the confidence to believe they can do science.
At Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen, our goal is to begin a science program at the Kindergarten level that carries through to the end of eighth grade which sparks an interest in all students for science. We accomplish this through a rigorous Core Knowledge science curriculum, hands-on learning methods of instruction, thinking maps to teach critical thinking skills, various science-related fields trips both inside and outside of the state, and professional development for elementary and middle school teachers in all areas of STEM. At RMAE we are doing our part to capture the natural, inquisitive instincts that children possess at an early age and cultivate these skills into talents they can use throughout their lifetime.