STEM is a growing buzzword in schools across the country. While the initial creation of the acronym was intended to emphasize the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, they are still being used as separate disciplines. Traditionally, science has been viewed as the study of the natural world, math as the study of patterns and relationships of numbers, and engineering as problem solving (NAE & NRC, 2009). Moving forward, the goal is to help future generations experience math and science come together through engineering activities to produce new and innovative technologies. This is happening today in part through a partnership between Purdue’s Center for Advancing the Teaching and Learning of STEM (CATALYST) and a local middle school. The partnership originated in EDCI 605, a course taught by CATALYST faculty that requires students to create an engaging, integrated STEM activity for middle school students. The middle school students, who are from low-income households and are eligible to receive the 21st Century Scholarship, visit Purdue’s campus for three after-school sessions to learn STEM content, identify solutions for real-world problems, and engage with graduate students. The activities are collaboratively taught by two faculty and multiple graduate students in EDCI 605. The middle school students are introduced to global challenges requiring innovative solutions. The partnership between CATALYST and the middle school could provide an opportunity for students to explore a career suitable for solving global challenges the future STEM workforce will encounter.
Yoshikawa, Emily K.
"Integrated STEM in Middle School: A Purdue Service-Learning Class,"
Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement: Vol. 4
, Article 15.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pjsl/vol4/iss1/15