The movement towards educating children in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills has resulted in a surge for programs focusing on robotics and computer science. With computer science and engineering predicted to be the most highly demanding degrees by 2018, schools have enhanced their curriculum by adding new hands on lessons that teach science, technology, engineering and math along with critical thinking and teamwork.
STEM promoting programs such as Project Lead the Way have been initiated in elementary classrooms in school districts nationwide. The program encourages students to develop their thinking and solve math, science and engineering problems in an educational and interactive way. It provides an equal challenge to students of all aptitudes, and promotes learning of multiple subjects and skills simultaneously.
Other initiatives such as the robotics camp sponsored by Magic Valley at Idaho's Kimberly High School teach children to develop STEM skills as well as professionalism. The camp also enables children studying programming to make logical calculations and decisions. Attendance costs $100 and a child can join teams or work together in a group to complete interactive tasks. The program is raising funds to compete in tournaments this year, and aims to increase the number of students interested in taking advanced math and science courses in middle and high school.
New Jersey's Grandview Elementary School and its Parent Teacher Organization teamed up with GNext Education to host a "LEGO STEM Night", a program that focuses on improving critical thinking, teamwork and technology literacy via programming in children. Taking hands on learning as an alternative to the traditional classroom teaching, students were asked to construct LEGO structures, understand how pulleys and belts work, and identify energy and motion transfer.
Principal William F. Baskerville Jr. stated the goals of the program and the captivation it held for the young participants, writes Susan Loyer of My Central Jersey.
"This is the first of what we hope to be many programs born out of STEM. We encourage students to take an active role in their STEM education as our nation relies more and more on advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics every day."
"This event is really engaging for young children. It is truly amazing when you see the wonder and excitement in their eyes as their robots come to life."
New Mexico's State University has also jumped up on the trend by hosting an "Expanding Your Horizons" conference which provides opportunities for middle and high school women to take on projects that develop their learning of careers such as engineering, computing, medicine, and other science, technology and math professions. The conference, which is sponsored by The Network for Women in Science & Engineering, consists of 75 minute long workshops that encourage students to design quick online games, learn programming code and brainstorm on important science topics.