FAQs: Pathways to STEM Education
STEM is an acronym standing for the disciplines science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The term was generated from within the academic science education community.
The STEM Pipeline refers to the path that takes an individual from an interest in any STEM discipline through the stages of engagement and education to employment in a STEM field.
- What is the STEM Pipeline?
By making the study of science multi-disciplinary, science educators can draw more students into the study of a STEM discipline.
- How can ESS contribute to STEM literacy?
At one university, education majors study ESS and through their investigations of interactions of the spheres, learn scientific methods (basic meteorology, planetary science, and geophysics), and leave the course with increased STEM literacy. Another university offers an ESS course, “Day After Tomorrow,” built around natural disasters, which teaches students basic meteorology and physics, again increasing STEM literacy.
- What are some examples of ESS being used to improve STEM literacy?
An interdisciplinary course can widen the horizons of more students by tapping their own special interests, potentially broadening their career choices to include a STEM field. But disciplinary skills (firm foundation in mathematics, chemistry, physics, etc.) are still vital for a successful interdisciplinary career.
- Why is interdisciplinary ESS a better solution than traditional disciplinary approaches?
In addition to the range of academic positions held by ESS-trained individuals, ESS careers include research positions in meteorology and geology, geophysics, oceanography, atmospheric and space sciences, and many cartographic and GIS industries.
- What are some examples of ESS career paths?
Because of its multi-disciplinary approach and ability to bring in so many elements of visual, graphic, and social interest (global warming, natural disasters, atmospheric phenomena), ESS has proven to be an appealing entry point into science, particularly Earth science, which is the area of science most frequently taught in K-12. By appealing to young students and making science interesting, instructors will spark more students to study science, and simultaneously increase study of mathematics and technology. The cohort of students thus led, will continue building the STEM Pipeline along their educational path.
- How can ESS be used to improve the K-12 STEM Pipeline?