CLIME is the Council for Technology in Math Education - an affiliate of NCTM since 1988
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Math Education Is STEM Education! Really?
, NCTM President
May 17, 2017
What design principles would you include to ensure that an effective STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program builds mathematics understanding?
So begins Matt Larson's piece in the NCTM blog. It's definitely worth a read. (
) He asserts that a good math education is all that's needed for a good STEM program. I disagreed.
I shared my thoughts in the comments section and got 2 replies from Matt. We found some common ground.
- 5/18/2017 7:45:32 AM
Thank you for writing this. In our district, the science supervisor and I have been trying to leverage the Standards for Mathematical Practice with the NGSS and ELA practices. We use the
NGSS Venn diagram
visual to help inform the work everyone is doing. Unfortunately, as a district, we are not all on the same page and rather than thinking of STEM or STEAM as a way of thinking and doing business most of our colleagues still see STEM as a separate class. It would be fabulous if all interested parties could come together and discuss a common vision.
- 5/19/2017 3:48:35 PM
Tracey: It will be very challenging to have a common vision. What STEM is really about is the integration of these 4 areas and the APPLICATION of math to the other 3 subjects; for example, building bridges and programming robots. Doing the traditional common core math program does not lend itself well to projects which is the heart and soul of STEM education. I'm disappointed that Mr. Larson does not see it that way.
- 5/19/2017 4:14:18 PM
Ihor: As I indicated in the message I support curricular connections and the application of mathematics to science and other subjects. My point is that in doing so we must be careful to maintain the integrity of the mathematics learning objectives. In too many cases this is not being done. Matt.
- 5/20/2017 10:14:04 AM
Maintaining the integrity is a given for NCTMs view of an ideal math curriculum. Good STEM projects would not do any harm to your vision. But it does make teachers concerned about doing STEM projects "right" so they probably won't even try unless they have to and that's not a good way to do it. Sharon's comment below indicates some of the concerns teachers have. You're going to run into this problem again when your high school reform committee plans alternative paths for students. STEM projects would be a great alternative to Calculus for those students who are planning STEM careers. Colleges need to rethink whether Calculus should be taught in high school instead of a solid STEM course.
- 5/20/2017 10:19:53 AM
Ihor - Good points that I will pass along to the High School Task Force. Thanks. Matt.
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