MEF, working with Masconomet Administration, set a two-year goal of raising $300,000 to construct and equip a new STEM Lab by September of 2016. And we did it! With the generosity of parents, local businesses, and private grants, the Lab opened on schedule and is currently being used by students in science and engineering classes. This Lab will be the foundation for an integrated curriculum and the creation of a new STEM Pathway.
Supporting the Middle and High School STEM programs, the Lab is an experiential, collaborative, learning environment that prepares its students for the rigors of a collegiate STEM major and, ultimately, for the workforce, where they’ll be equipped to make positive contributions.
The STEM Lab supports STEM programs with interactive technologies and team-based activities that enable students taking science, computer programming, engineering and math courses to build their knowledge by exploring authentic problems relevant to society.
Innovative teaching and learning technologies are at the heart of this approach to ensure that students with varying learning styles have the opportunity to succeed in the high demand and growing STEM fields.
In the various spaces clustered in the STEM Lab, students will participate in each stage of the design cycle. Students will identify design criteria for a particular problem, come up with potential alternatives, plan for a chosen solution, build and test a prototype, evaluate their work, and refine their solution.
According to the STEM Education Coalition, “STEM education is closely linked with our nation’s economic prosperity in the global economy. STEM skills prepare more students for the best jobs of the future that will keep the U.S. innovative, secure, and competitive.” The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math will grow 17 percent by 2018—nearly double the growth for non-STEM fields. By 2018, the U.S. will have more than 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs because there will not be enough qualified workers to fill them. Providing Masconomet students with STEM training will benefit the students, businesses in need of skilled STEM employees, and the U.S. economy.
STEM introduces students to practical science, technology, engineering and mathematics through a hands-on approach that engages their natural curiosity and imagination in creative problem solving. Examples of these hands-on approaches include the assembly and application of robots, creating electrical circuits, computer programming, and designing sustainable “green” buildings.
Similar to the structure of Masconomet’s successful Global Diploma, the new STEM Diploma will have a curriculum with a concentration of courses in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.