The positive impacts that U.S. public schools and their communities enjoy from STEM programs were underscored in a new survey conducted among some of the nation’s leading middle and high school STEM educators. Nearly 60 percent of teachers indicate that although teaching STEM is challenging, it offers educators unique rewards by engaging their student’s curiosity and enhancing their motivation, according to Samsung Solve for Tomorrow’s “The State of STEM Education” survey.
Additionally, the study finds that STEM education has been insulated from controversial issues (35 percent), with 65 percent reporting that local school boards and communities are either “generally supportive” of STEM in their school or that the success of the STEM program has been a “solid positive” with the community.
Teachers also told us that implementing the problem-based learning (PBL) techniques utilized in their Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM projects helped counteract the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on education at their schools. Among respondents, 46 percent agreed that by helping students see that their work can have an impact outside of the classroom and in their communities PBL has been a strong antidote to COVID-induced feelings of isolation, helplessness, and anxiety about the state of the world.
In December 2022 and January 2023, Samsung polled nearly 430 U.S. educators who led their school’s efforts in entering the company’s annual Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition, which is currently in its 13th year. Solve for Tomorrow challenges U.S. public school students in grades 6-12 to explore the role STEM can play in solving some of the biggest issues in their local communities. The competition requires participating students and teachers to engage in active, hands-on learning that can be applied to real-world problems – making STEM more tangible and showcasing its value beyond the classroom.
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