The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM Education attempts to transform the typical teacher-centered classroom by encouraging a curriculum that is driven by problem-solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and requires 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.
Martin Technology Academy has worked diligently to create a common language among teachers for what STEM Integration will look like in their classrooms. In 2014, MTA decided to pursue Georgia State STEM Certification. We had an initial visit from the state and were provided with a rubric to complete prior to the final visit, and certification. MTA teachers have participated in a Science Endorsement cohort, adopted a school-wide Engineering Design Process (EDP), started writing standards based STEM Focus Problems at each grade level, and founded a STEM steering committee. Our current goal is to invite the state back for another review in Spring 2016.
Martin Technology Academy Engineering Design Process
Martin Technology Academy of Math and Science STEM Focus Problems
MTA STEM Focus Problems are standards-based challenges that take students through the entire engineering design process. Students will be given the problem at the beginning of the unit, prior to learning any standards. The standards will then be taught to students in the traditional manner, with teachers continuing to direct students back to the Focus Problem throughout the course of the unit. Students will make the connection that the standards they are learning in all subjects will be skills they need to master in order to be successful in completing the challenge at the end of the unit. Once all the necessary standards have been mastered, the student will engage in solving the Focus Problem through the use of the Engineering Design Process.
** Continue to check back for updates as the MTA staff continue to create Focus Problems during the 2015 – 2016 school year. **
Focus Problem 1 (August 4 weeks) – Every day construction companies have to figure out what materials to use to build very strong homes that keep your family safe during all kinds of weather. The three little pigs faced this very same problem! Can you help the third little pig design a house that will keep the family safe during all kinds of wind and weather?
Focus Problem 1 (August 9 weeks) – 15 years ago, a beautiful new school was built, our school! Over the years, water and wind have started to effect the soil around our playground and track. We desperately need you to save and beautify our school! You have the challenge of designing an erosion barrier from recycled materials that will stop the erosion on our playground.
Focus Problem 1 (August 6 weeks) – The Native Americans are on the hunt! Native Americans are struggling to catch the buffalo that they need for survival. Every time they get close to the buffalo, the buffalo run! We need you to design a catapult that will hit a target (the buffalo) from a safe distance away.
Focus Problem 1 (August 9 weeks) – Some 130 years since Thomas Edison’s breakthrough with artificial light, nearly a quarter of humanity still lacks electricity. You have been charged with the task of creating a working circuit that can bring working electricity to these third world countries and begin their road out of poverty.