Recently, I was invited to participate in a survey for which addressed agriculture teachers’ perceptions of STEM integration. Some of the questions, although I can’t recall them in exact detail, gave me pause. They inquired about my feelings toward science, technology, engineering and mathematics and my comfort level with incorporating them in instruction. Although I frequently hear STEM spoken as a key focus area, I haven’t really taken time to reflect on my relationship with each of the components. Have you?
As career and technical educators, we have an ideal venue for incorporating STEM. Some of the connections are obvious to us as educators, such as the science found in health science or agricultural science programs or the mathematics needed in business accounting classes. Are you taking the chance to reinforce to your stakeholders how you incorporate these aspects? Sometimes the things obvious to us are not as clear from a different perspective.
Maybe we have to dig a little deeper to consider the mathematics of altering recipe sizes in culinary arts or the engineering concepts addressed in automotive technologies. How do you help your students realize that STEM is part of what they are engaged in as participants in career and technical education programs? Are you guilty, as I am, of saying something like “Math is not my friend!” yet plugging forward without expressing the vital nature of it?
As you begin the 2014-2015 school year, I challenge you to take time to think about the myriad of ways you are incorporating STEM (I’m sure you are somehow!) and develop at least two action steps for how you will be sure your stakeholders and students know how STEM and your CTE program connect.