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Einstein Fellows

Best Practices in STEM Education – With assistance from Terrie Rust & Remy Dou

Series:

Tim Spuck, Leigh Jenkins, Terrie Rust and Remy Dou

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is seen by leaders from across the globe as key to economic success and prosperity. Einstein Fellows attempts to improve the state of STEM education, not only here in the United States, but internationally as well. As the body of STEM-learning research grows, this volume provides the unique perspective of nationally recognized educators who have spent, collectively, more than 400,000 hours at the interface between teaching and learning. Each chapter communicates how its author has implemented a specific STEM practice in the classroom and how the practice might be modified for use in other classrooms, schools, and learning environments. Readers of Einstein Fellows: Best Practices in STEM Education will gain powerful insight about what really works when it comes to teaching and learning STEM. This publication will serve as an excellent resource for use in any science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching methods course; no professional education library K through college, should be without a copy.

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Introduction

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Between the private sector and government, it is estimated that the United States spends over $400 billion annually on research and development—nearly twice that of its closest competitor, China. Investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has been identified as the critical piece necessary for the nation’s economy to remain innovative and competitive, one that is crucial to improvements in the quality and longevity of human life. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Space Race and other STEM initiatives brought many into STEM-related careers. Those individuals are nearing retirement age and will soon leave the field. Who will take their place? Who will be the innovators of tomorrow? Are the students we are preparing today ready to meet the current and future STEM challenges facing our planet?

There is immense concern that the United States is falling behind in its competitiveness and ability to meet the global challenges that lie ahead. Compared to students in other countries, U.S. 15-year-olds rank 23rd in science, 31st in math, and 17th in reading, as measured by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). When these same students arrive in our colleges, they struggle there as well. Fewer than 40% of students who enter college majoring in a STEM field complete a STEM degree. In addition, the general public seems to struggle in its understanding of STEM concepts. A recent Pew Research Poll showed that 85% of scientists view the public’s lack of scientific knowledge as a major...

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