The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM education includes the teaching of subject areas such as mathematics and science by incorporating technology and engineering into the regular curriculum. STEM education attempts to transform the typical teacher-centered classroom by encouraging a curriculum that is driven by problem-solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and require students to actively engage a situation in order to find its solution.
The four parts of STEM have been taught separately and most of the time independent from each other for years. By adopting the STEM philosophy Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics all play an integral part in the teaching of the whole. The science, engineering, and mathematics fields are made complete by the technology component that provides a creative and innovative way to problem solve and apply what has been learned.
During the summer of 2011, five Dennis-Yarmouth educators attended the Museum of Science Gateway Institute to develop a district action plan to implement STEM into the curriculum at Dennis-Yarmouth. Since that Institute a number of STEM initiatives have been begun. Students in grades 4 and 5 at Marquerite E. Small are participating in STEM activities during an enrichment block. Students at Mattacheese Middle School have designed and built bridges, house and roller coasters. Cars were constructed and tested for speed using balloons. Students and teachers at Mattacheese and Nathaniel H. Wixon Middle School have field tested a pump unit for the Museum of Science. This spring students at Wixon will build full size duck boats to race on a local pond. In addiition, the 8th Grade STEM Pilot was kicked off at the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School. Grade 8 students competed in the Future Cities Program, used the Design Squad to build and test a variety of projects to solve problems, and are currently participating in the Global Technology and Engineering Consortium studying water quality and sharing their findings with students in Russia.