STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and is essentially an interdisciplinary approach to education that combines science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to provide all-round development for students. STEM educations make students more holistically equipped in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with real-world activities for students to have the careers they aim for.
STEM education, which has become increasingly widespread in recent years, is increasingly finding its place in preschool, primary, middle, and high school curricula. STEM practices play an important role in acquiring the necessary skills in the basic stages of many sectors from health to aviation and also these practices generally focus on project-based learning. By utilizing the STEM fields, students can make a meaningful connection between their classroom and the world around them.
STEAM has recently been used in conjunction with the concept of STEM. It incorporates art into these four disciplines. STEAM is designed to foster discussions, problem-solving skills, and collaboration among students, and art has the ability to extend the boundaries of STEM education and practice. Rather than treating the five disciplines as separate subjects, STEAM integrates them into a coherent learning process based on real-world activities.
STEM activities are introduced to students from a very early age. Especially starting STEM activities in the preschool age group yields fruitful results. Starting from this age group, children are introduced to STEM education through various curricular and extracurricular activities. In STEM activities that start at an early age, basic knowledge about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is included in the play processes, creating an educational environment that enables students to learn while having fun. STEM practices awaken students' sense of curiosity, develop their creative thinking skills, and play an important role in shaping their future interests.
STEM activities organized in accordance with the age group help students develop an active mindset in line with the requirements of the 21st century. Encouraging students to engage in STEM activities individually or in groups makes the learning process more enjoyable and productive. Games with numbers will be useful for developing basic math skills, and tools such as photosynthesis experiment kits or robot-building kits will be useful for learning basic sciences.
STEM practices start with the transfer of basic dynamics in preschool education and increasingly find their place in primary, middle, and high school curricula. The inclusion of simulations from different branches of science in the education program contributes to the development of students in mathematics, science, and technology-related courses. Organizing STEM activities according to the age and learning status of the student makes the education process more efficient and instructive. STEM activities in which students actively participate make learning fun and reinforcing. STEM practices carried out in groups are of great importance in terms of improving communication, cooperation, and problem-solving skills among students.
STEM education initially focuses on raising awareness in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and transferring knowledge related to related professions. In the first step, connections are made between STEM subjects, and an inquiry-based, real-world problem-solving learning experience is offered. The aim here is to ensure that students willingly direct their attention to the relevant field, not because they have to. Bridging the gap between curricular STEM activities and extracurricular STEM practices helps to open up more learning opportunities.
When an interactive educational environment is created for students in preschool STEM education, students have the chance to learn in a permanent way by combining the knowledge they acquire with their daily experiences. Triggering students' feelings of curiosity and discovery encourages them to think creatively. While games related to numbers make students love mathematics at an early age; simple robot designs that can be made with objects such as rope, paper, and balloons will give them ideas in the fields of design and engineering.
STEM activities included in the curriculum in primary school and extra-curricular activities in which the student will participate in extracurricular activities contribute to school education and help students gain some of the competencies they will need in the future. Students in this age group can be given project assignments that require observation. These project assignments contribute to the development of critical thinking skills.
Nature observation, plant growing, and seed germination practices make students more interested in science and natural sciences and keep their love for nature alive. These STEM practices also help to understand sustainability. LEGO and puzzle projects of interest to this age group develop students' skills in questioning, reasoning, and innovation.
STEM education is more intensively introduced to students in middle school. In this period, students are informed about STEM education fields and professions and the academic requirements of these professions with a more intensive program. Since students have more ideas about science and math courses in this period, STEM education is followed with greater interest in them. In this period, activities explaining the fall of objects and gravity provided a better understanding of the laws of physics. At the same time, model-making and simple electrical experiments contribute to the development of students in the fields of technology, engineering, and science.
STEM Education focuses on more challenging and rigorous activities of topics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in high school. In this period, it is of great importance for students to bridge the gap between in-school and out-of-school STEM practices. STEM education in high school accelerates the student's development in the field they are interested in by directing them to courses, certificate programs, or internship training in the field they want to direct their career.
STEM education aims to help students acquire the skill sets required for the 21st century. Some of the benefits of curricular and extra-curricular STEM activities are as follows:
FETEMM is the abbreviation of STEM education conceptualized in Turkey. FETEMM, an acronym that stands for fen (science), teknoloji (technology), mühendislik (engineering) and matematik (mathematics), enables students to become competent in these fields through in-school and out-of-school practices.
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