4 keys to building an equitable STEM program

From professional development opportunities to connecting lessons to careers, here’s how schools and districts can promote STEM for all

3. Embrace project-based learning (PBL).
After spending time in a wide variety of classrooms around the country, I’ve found that the best way for students to really grab onto STEM topics and uncover their interests is through authentic project-based learning. Research shows that students taught through PBL perform better than those taught through traditional methods. Districts can improve STEM equity by providing their teachers with the curriculum, materials, and support they need to get their students immersed in hands-on lessons.

While some districts make funding for STEM resources available, others may not have that luxury. For educators who need a little extra help to make STEM learning possible, take a look at these 10 resources for STEM funding.

PBL promotes transferable 21st-century skills, such as the 4C’s (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) that students will use in their futures to solve tough problems and overcome daily challenges that present themselves in careers.

4. Connect lessons to life outside the classroom.
Through PBL, educators can engage students in projects and performance tasks tied to careers and experiences that they can see themselves pursuing after graduation. Solutions that merge PBL and STEM can bring these curricula to life for K–12 teachers and truly nurture those career-focused learning opportunities.

The future will present job opportunities where the ability to adapt will be at a premium. Through the combination of STEM and PBL, schools challenge students to build the skills they need to succeed in those future jobs. I fervently believe that STEM education for all students (starting in elementary school) is vital to building and maintaining our nation’s shared prosperity.

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