Originally called Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (SMET), STEM Education was a National Science Foundation (NSF) initiative. This instructional initiative was to provide critical thinking abilities to all learners that would make them creative problem solvers and eventually more workforce marketable. It is considered that any student participating in STEM Education, especially in the K-12 environment, would have a benefit if they decided not to pursue post-secondary education or if they attended college, especially in a STEM field, would have an even higher benefit.
Historically the use of STEM ideas was applied in many parts of the company globe; i.e., the Industrial Revolution, Thomas Edison and other inventors, it was not used in traditional instructional environments. In engineering companies, the use of STEM was mainly used to create revolutionary technologies such as light bulbs, automobiles, instruments and machines, etc. Many of the individuals in charge of these technologies were only mildly trained and/or in some kind of apprenticeship. Thomas Edison, for instance, did not attend university, nor did Henry Ford; though for a number of years Ford did work for Thomas Edison. These innovation “giants” used STEM concepts to create some of the most prolific systems in history, but STEM was nearly non-existent in schooling.
STEM Education was the outcome of a number of events in history. Most noteworthy was the 1862 Morrill Act. This Act was accountable for the growth of land grant universities, which initially concentrated primarily on agricultural training, but quickly created training programs centred on engineering. As more and more land grant institutions were being set up, more and more STEM education was finally taught and eventually assimilated into the workforce. STEM Education was driven by other historical occurrences to develop and thrive. Two such occurrences were the Second World War, and then the launch of the Sputnik of the Soviet Union. Scientists, mathematicians, and technicians (many from academia) worked for hand in hand with the army to create innovative goods that helped win the war and further STEM Education. It should also be noted that at the end of the Second World War, the NSF was formed in an effort not only to recognize the immense contribution of the talented men and women who created prolific commodities but also to preserve their research and documentation.
Although history has played and continues to play a role in STEM Education, there are many variations and views about what STEM education is and how it should be taught. STEM Fields Defined STEM’s four strands; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as the basic forms of the academic careers of all students; especially science and mathematics. Described science as the systematic study of the nature and conduct of the material and physical world, based on observation, experimentation, and measurement, and the formulation of legislation to describe these facts in general terms. Technology: the knowledge branch that deals with the development and use of technical means and their interrelationship with life, society and the environment, drawing on topics such as industrial arts, engineering, applied science and pure science. Engineering: the art or science of making practical use of pure science understanding, such as physics or chemistry, as in engineering, bridge design, houses, mines, boats and chemical plants. Mathematics: a group of associated sciences, including algebra, geometry, and calculus, that use a specific notation to study numbers, quantities, shapes, and spaces and their interrelationships.