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Article
Author(s)

Robert Mayes, Bryon Gallant

Affiliation(s)

Georgia Southern University, State of Georgia, USA

ABSTRACT

The integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs within the educational framework and the creation of STEM-designated schools and academic/career pathways represent a national trend meant to prepare students for the demands of the 21st century while addressing future workforce needs. Often, however, the STEM disciplines are taught within silos independent of each other. Students miss the opportunity to participate in the interrelationship among the STEM disciplines, resulting in missing opportunities to build critical reasoning skills. The Real STEM Project focuses on the development of interdisciplinary STEM within the school and community. Interdisciplinary STEM is characterized by sustained professional development that is job-embedded and competency-based, and on the development of student reasoning abilities across contexts. To accomplish this, interdisciplinary STEM should strive to be inclusive when it comes to the multiple STEM disciplines, embrace authentic teaching strategies that are based on real-world problem-solving through hands-on student engagement, and structured around the three Ps: project-based, place-based, and problem-based. To assist in developing an interdisciplinary STEM program, this article concludes with a focus on five primary reasoning modalities that best capture the spirit of interdisciplinary STEM: complex systems reasoning, science model-based reasoning, technology computational reasoning, engineering design-based reasoning, and quantitative reasoning.

KEYWORDS

interdisciplinary STEM, reasoning, authentic teaching, expert collaboration

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