Tuesday, July 21, 2015

STEM, Teaching Math is more than just the M

I have been lucky to be part of a STEM grant at UW-Platteville the last couple of days (STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) - we, the participants, have had the opportunity to do some STEM projects, reflecting on practices and working with a great group of dedicated excited educators.

And the big thing for me - with 2 days out of 8 done is a new mantra to repeat - that STEM has M (math) in the STE part too.  Meaning that the STE part can have a huge impact on my students - a bigger impact in their ability to problem solve, their ability to be ready for the world versus just doing M.

So a question discussed was: are you a STEM teacher? The question followed the story of a 5th grade teacher using STEM to teach Math (and her need to teach parents that M is STE).  And my answer today is I am a math teacher who has large STEM projects.  I integrate STEM into math as I can but I rely on the projects I assign to do STEM things (and also the math practices).  For me the next step is continuously improving my lessons to include more STE - to teach more math concepts.

The practices we want are there in the STE part and any math room will always have M - so a message to myself : keep pushing the STE part.  Keep finding the projects, keep making the math learning happening through discovery.  Keep using a holistic approach and make each class just a little bit better (continuous improvement).

And

A day without math is like a day without sunshine.

is still true (love that phrase)!!  Now we know that STE portion is pure sunshine too.