More than ever, there are toys, kits, after school activities and even curriculum that reflects STEM – which is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math – or STEAM, which includes “art.”
Did you know that Washington State is ranked No. 1 for the highest concentration of jobs related to math and science? Across the country, there are more STEM jobs than people to fill them and it’s because our K-12 schools aren’t preparing enough students to pursue these fields in college. There aren’t enough resources for teachers and not enough teachers who are trained in these fields to teach our children.
Part of what drove me to create this blog is what I’ve learned by working at Institute for Systems Biology, which is a nonprofit biotech research organization in Seattle. ISB recognized from the beginning that supporting K-12 and college science educators was just as important as pursuing revolutionizing science. As a result, ISB established a group called the Logan Center for Education, which is staffed by science educators, who use research to help build professional development programs for K-12 teachers and administrators. I have been exposed to data related to STEM and how students and teachers learn. While changes, including the implementation of Common Core Standards for math and English language arts and the Next Generation Science Standards, are afoot, the changes aren’t happening fast enough.
Our teachers do the best they can, but I have a duty as a parent to bring STEM/STEAM into our daily lives. We incorporate science and art into our daily lives in small ways. If I can provide a framework for how to view the world from a prism of perspectives and to encourage a growth mindset, then my kids will have a good foundation.
But, it’s not enough to “do STEM.” I think it’s important for our kids to start to develop entrepreneurial thinking. It’s not so much about how to do you transform something into a business, but more about a way of thinking that considers the big picture, is resourceful, is able to adapt or pivot quickly as needed, that understands failure is a way to learn and move forward – not unlike a start-up.
I want kids not only to think “let’s build a lemonade stand” but also to understand the process of starting up a business and how to maintain it, grow it, market it. So I want to SmartUp my kids and any others who hunger for new experiences.