STEM, an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Also sometimes referred to as STEAM, the A standing for the Arts. STEM gives educators the opportunity to show students how important these disciplines are and how they can be found in our everyday lives. Chris Woods, a STEM teacher and host of the STEM Everyday Podcast recently explained to us why STEM is so important for the future of K-12 education.

How to Create Conversations Around STEM

When teachers hear “STEM” they typically think about robotics, 3D printers, and all types of expensive technology. Chris’s interest in STEM came from the urge to become a voice to help teachers understand how they can teach science, technology, engineering, and math in different ways without needing fancy or expensive technology. 

STEM can be found all around you. When Chris would be home on the weekends, working on home projects, he started noticing that all the different tasks he was doing had elements of science, technology, engineering, and math.

So, he started sharing these tasks with his students and fellow teachers via Twitter (@DailySTEM) to get them excited about STEM, show how it applies to everyday life, and give teachers ideas for how to create lessons around it in their classrooms. 

One of Chris’s favorite ways to engage his students is by sharing an idea with them and building on it later when it comes to application. An example he gave was watching a video on how a cook makes rice. This video shows the cook using ratios and converting units and applying mathematical skills to a common household activity.

Additionally, he would ask his students to identify 3 parts of the video that related to math or science and share one thing they like to cook with the class. The reasoning for this is to get his students thinking about using STEM in their daily lives and how applications can show up virtually anywhere.

The Future of STEM in K-12 Education

STEM plays a prominent role in the development of the next generation of students. It has taken off as a buzzword in the education community but Chris worries that being a buzzword is not enough. 

Many industries utilize large elements of STEM that we might not even realize. Chris wants STEM to be a topic that is a part of everyday lives and become so apparent that it is fully integrated into everything we do.

Chris explains how he is excited about the future of STEM in K-12 education and to see how it unfolds but he has his concerns as well. While there are so many great resources, kits, and programs out there to use, students need to be able to see that STEM is not just a place they go to once or twice a week.

Some schools are implementing STEM classes just because the schools around them are doing the same. While this may seem like a great way to get started, schools and educators need to be passionate about STEM to indulge in the full potential of these topics. 

Chris thinks STEM should be part of every aspect of learning. With the help of educators everywhere, STEM education can become something much more than just a subject in school.

Listen to our full conversation with Chris Woods

On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, Brett McGrath speaks to Chris Woods, a high school math teacher in Michigan, STEM advocate, and host of the Daily STEM Podcast. Chris creates valuable STEM resources for parents, teachers, and students. He is excellent at engaging students in fun and meaningful ways, even while teaching remotely, to learn about STEM in their daily lives as well as in the classroom. Chris is the founder of dailySTEM and the STEM Everyday Podcast.

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