MIT Stem Pals
  February 2013  
Please forward this to friends and colleagues interested in STEM

Preparing Teachers for the New STEM Educational Standards
Dick LarsonSTEM is perhaps the most important four-letter word in current education conversations. Nationally, there is bi-partisan support for improving the education of young learners, leading to more engineers, scientists, mathematicians and computer scientists in the years ahead. Currently there are hundreds of thousands of open positions for STEM specialists and not enough qualified applicants. Even for those who will not become engineers and scientists, it is widely felt that a literate 21st Century U.S. population, one that can collectively make intelligent choices for the country, must be STEM-literate as well as reading-literate. Exacerbating the current shortfall are the accelerating retirements of “Baby Boomer” engineers from such companies as Boeing, Ford Motor, Raytheon and the entire geo-science (oil and gas) industry. There is little time to waste. Read more.

A Comprehensive Corporate Approach to Improving STEM Education
Elizabeth MurrayLiving as I do very close to Raytheon’s home office in Waltham, Massachusetts, I‘ve often been curious about all the work they claim to do in improving STEM education. So I decided to look into it! What I found was quite impressive - a comprehensive, multi-focused approach to increasing passion for STEM fields among young students. For years, Raytheon has dedicated 60 % of its corporate giving to education resources—to creating a greater awareness and appreciation of math and science among young people. To do that, they believe you need “to engage students when they are young, support them during critical middle school years and continue to build on that support throughout their academic lives.” Raytheon CEO, Bill Swanson, seems to be deeply committed to this challenge. The following excellent video presents Raytheon’s view on the crisis of STEM education in the U.S. View here. Read more.


The Challenges of Funding STEM Outreach
Megan RokopI don’t know about you, but I’ve always found that the single biggest challenge of running a STEM outreach program is funding. Before I launch into the challenges of the field, let me first say that there is no question what the best thing is – the people. Obviously the students are amazing (I mean, if you don’t love interacting with students, this field is not the best choice for you!). But something I hadn’t thought about before joining the world of STEM outreach was how I was about to join the most wonderfully supportive group of colleagues out there. So I do want to take a moment to give a huge kudos to all of my fellow outreach folks, who are invariably kind, thoughtful, inventive and hard-working. Between them and the students, being in this field is truly a delight for me on a daily basis. Read more.

Ready Made for School VisitRick McMaster
It’s Engineers Week! Discover “E” will continue well past this single week. Throughout the school year engineers and technical professionals will continue to visit classrooms around the world to excite students about STEM careers and explain why being STEM-literate is so important.

There are many resources available to volunteers; I have mentioned a few before – PBS Kids spans pre-K to high school. Teachers TryScience is not just for teachers but also for informal educators. Let’s take a look this month at MIT’s own BLOSSOMS – Blended Learning Open Source Science Or Math Studies.

If you are not familiar with BLOSSOMS, you should take a close look. The BLOSSOMS modules are ready made for a classroom visit. They encompass complete lessons including interactions with the students, resources, and a teachers guide to help you make the most of the material. Flu Math Games, seems very appropriate this time of the year. Let’s look at it in depth. Read more.