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Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) information.

K-12 STEM education encompasses the processes of critical thinking, analysis, and collaboration in which students integrate the processes and concepts in real world contexts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, fostering the development of STEM skills and competencies for college, career, and life.

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s  interview at the CA STEM Summit 2012  where he spoke about CA STEM education. Text transcript of Tom Torlakson’s video External link opens in new window or tab..

3rd Annual California STEM Symposium

Designing Our Future External link opens in new window or tab.
October 29-30, 2015, at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Defining STEM

STEM Education in California

To be successful, California’s efforts to improve schools and raise student achievement must include advancing our students’ understanding of STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Through STEM education, students learn to become problem solvers, innovators, creators, and collaborators and go on to fill the critical pipeline of engineers, scientists, and innovators so essential to the future of California and the nation. The STEM Task Force calls upon policy makers, business leaders, philanthropists, educators, and all Californians to take the actions necessary to realize this future vision:

California leads the world in STEM education, inspiring and preparing all of its students to seize the opportunities of the global society through innovation, inquiry, collaboration, and creative problem solving.

The growth of jobs in California requiring STEM proficiency is on the rise. In California, there were approximately five people searching for every available job. Meanwhile, there were 1.5 STEM jobs available for every job seeker (Change the Equation, 2012).

California will be a leader in STEM education, preparing and inspiring all of its students to seize the opportunities of the global society through innovation, inquiry, collaboration, and creative problem solving. Increase Public Awareness, Increase Resources, Increase Access, Establish a STEM Framework, Enhance Professional Learning, Integrate STEM into Assessment and Accountability Systems, and Guarantee the Availability of High-quality STEM Educational Materials and Resources.

STEM Disciplines

NGSS – My Digital Chalkboard External link opens in new window or tab. – Join Now
The Digital Chalkboard is where California educators get connected, collaborate, and share the best practices, best resources, and best strategies.

The Four STEM Disciplines Described

Science is the study of the natural world, including the laws of nature associated with physics, chemistry, and biology and the treatment or application of facts, principles, concepts, and conventions associated with these disciplines. Science is both a body of knowledge that has been accumulated over time and a process—scientific inquiry—that generates new knowledge. Knowledge from science informs the engineering design process. (NGSS for California Public Schools, K-12)

NGSS Pre-Publication Version

Technology, while not a discipline in the strictest sense, comprises the entire system of people and organizations, knowledge, processes, and devices that go into creating and operating technological artifacts, as well as the artifacts themselves. Throughout history, humans have created technology to satisfy their wants and needs. Much of modern technology is a product of science and engineering, and technological tools are used in both fields. (Empowering Learning – A Blueprint for California Education Technology 2014-2017)

Engineering is both a body of knowledge—about the design and creation of human-made products—and a process for solving problems. This process is design under constraint. One constraint in engineering design is the laws of nature, or science. Other constraints include time, money, available materials, ergonomics, environmental regulations, manufacturability, and reparability. Engineering utilizes concepts from science and mathematics as well as technological tools. 

Mathematics is the study of patterns and relationships among quantities, numbers, and space. Unlike in science, where empirical evidence is sought to warrant or overthrow claims, claims in mathematics are warranted through logical arguments based on foundational assumptions. The local arguments themselves are part of mathematics along with the claims. As in science, knowledge in mathematics continues to grow, but unlike in science, knowledge in mathematics is not overturned, unless the foundational assumptions are transformed. Specific conceptual categories of K-12 mathematics include numbers and arithmetic, algebra, functions, geometry, and statistics and probability. Mathematics is used in science, engineering, and technology.

Source: Adapted from the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council, 2009.

Students learn not only in the classroom but also in the real world, and the importance of expanded, informal, and K-12 regular school day learning integration has been emphasized recently by the 2011 convening of the Committee on Integrated STEM Education by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council (NRC), and the NRC convening, STEM is Everywhere. The most effective STEM education takes place where expanded, informal learning, and K-12 regular day instruction are integrated and the unique potential of each of these environments is fully leveraged for high-quality STEM education, often referred to as STEM ecosystems. (Change the Equation, 2012).

K-12 Regular Day: Elementary School, Middle School, and High School. Informal Learning: Libraries, Museums, Parks, and Businesses. Expanded Learning: Before School, After School, and Summer and Intersession.

STEM Resources

CDE Resources

Education Technology
Provides assistance to schools and districts in integrating technology with teaching and learning.

Environmental Education
Information on current environmental education resources, special events, and grant opportunities.

Mathematics
Resources and information for enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers and links to foundational documents which guide California's mathematics instruction.

Science
Resources and information for enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers and links to foundational documents which guide California's science instruction

External Resources

LCAP Toolkit External link opens in new window or tab.
The LCAP Toolkit for STEM Advocates was developed by California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) in partnership with The Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. The toolkit is designed to help districts strengthen supports for science and STEM education as they develop their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP).

NASA for Educators External link opens in new window or tab.
NASA for Educators provides resources for kindergarten through college teachers and students. NASA's Education Materials Finder External link opens in new window or tab. helps teachers locate resources that can be used in the classroom.

PBS KIDS' Design Squad Nation External link opens in new window or tab.
With funding from the National Science Foundation and the Bechtel Foundation, the Web site provides elementary teachers with over 100 easy-to-do engineering design projects that can be replicated either in the classroom or used as do-at-home activities for students and their parents.

The Practical Uses of Math and Science (PUMA) External link opens in new window or tab.
This is an Online Journal of Mathematics and Science, at NASA. This is a collection of examples ("lessons" or ""activities") showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes can be used in interesting settings, including everyday life.

PBS Teachers STEM Education Resource Center External link opens in new window or tab.
The PBS Teachers STEM Education Resource Center provides selected STEM education resources. To find more, search the database of nearly 4,000 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics resources for grades preK-12. A printable STEM Resource Round Up External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) is available for your use.

Engineer Girl External link opens in new window or tab.
Engineer Girl is part of a National Academy of Engineering project to bring national attention to the opportunity that engineering represents to all people at any age, but particularly to women and girls.

California Mathematics Council External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Mathematics Council (CMC) is an organization that believes all students have the capacity to become mathematically competent and confident when provided a rigorous and challenging mathematical program supported by high expectations.

California Science Teachers Association External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Science Teachers Association's (CSTA) mission is to promote high quality science education.

Publications

The Condition of STEM External link opens in new window or tab. (2013)
The report will show achievement levels for students in each of the four areas of STEM on a national level.

Disparities in STEM Employment by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: American Community Survey Reports External link opens in new window or tab. (2013)
This report details the historical demographic composition of STEM occupations, followed by a detailed examination of current STEM employment by age and sex, presence of children in the household, and race and Hispanic origin based on the 2011 American Community Survey (ACS).

Vital Signs. The Next Frontier for Data: The More We know, the More We Can Do to Improve STEM Learning External link opens in new window or tab. (2012)
The Vital Signs provide important insights on strengths and weaknesses in STEM learning in each state.

The Impact of Engineering Curriculum Units on Students’ Interests in Engineering and Science External link opens in new window or tab. (2012)
This report we describe the analysis of a survey of engineering and science interest given as part of a larger study aimed at evaluating the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) curriculum.

Working Paper: How Cross-Sector Collaborations are Advancing STEM Learning External link opens in new window or tab. (2014)
This paper describes the attributes and strategies of 15 leading ecosystem efforts throughout the country with the hope that others may use their lessons to deepen rich STEM learning for many more of America’s children.

Questions: STEM Office | stem@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5847 
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