School Forecast

STEM? STEAM? Why your child's homework may look different this year

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) - When we think about STEM classes, we associate it with subjects like science and math.

We spoke with an expert who says there is so much more that goes in hand with the curriculum.

"A lot of people use it as a synonymous term with science, math or engineering," explained assistant professor of education, Dr. Ashley Gess. "However, I subscribe to the idea that STEM is an educational approach."

With the CSRA moving towards being the hub of cyber command and engineering, students are going to be introduced to STEM-based courses at an early age.

The terms STEM and now STEAM means science, technology, engineering (art) and mathematics.

Dr. Gess says even though students are being taught these subjects, there still a bit of confusion about why it's needed and why it benefits everybody.

"We need to train up the lively mind," said Dr. Gess. "Somebody that can adapt, and innovate. That's not just going to benefit the students and their future work, but it's going to benefit us as a society."

Gess specializes in STEM, and how to train educators to teach the courses to their students properly.

She says one of her focuses is to have all students engaged, not just the gifted students.

"If we leverage the design process; the engagement goes up, and the rigor goes up," explained Dr. Gess.

Dr. Gess says most students are not getting enough resources to advance to the next level.

The Augusta University assistant professor of education encourages teachers to challenge their students with a STEM approach from the lessons they learned, rather than filling out a worksheet.

"We can give them an authentic problem, that has an engineering solution," said Dr. Gess. "We can say to them; remember all those things we learned, now apply them out here." 

Augusta University will host the state's first steam competition for grade school's 4th through 8th grade.

The competition is expected to have more than 90 teams and will be held in October. 

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