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For the love of STEM

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re: For the love of STEM
LiketoBike   3/22/2012 7:06:24 PM
I took a lot of geology while an undergraduate. Some of the most fun I had was going to local schools and talking to young people about rocks when they got to that part in their curriculum. I made this observation (from the mid-eighties): The 4th-graders were very enthusiastic, highly participatory, and a joy to be around. They even wrote thank-you notes, and I still have those. The 6th-graders lounged back in their chairs, rolled their eyes, kept quiet, eschewed participation of any kind, and wrote no notes. I only did one of those and felt absolutely no desire to do another one... So I totally agree about the target age, and that hormones and cynicism (I fear the latter more than the former, though) kick in and actively interfere with sharing the excitement. But, about the working together vs STEM parts...they need to be worked out at the same time. Current STEM people cannot afford to bootstrap STEM for 10 years, waiting for changed attitudes to percolate all around. Valid solutions require concurrent development, so to speak.

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re: For the love of STEM
Sparky_Watt   3/16/2012 10:43:20 PM
Why is it that some people can only think of covering their own butts? Better STEM education is about far more than "engineering labor". People who have a general understanding of science, technology, and math are less likely to be swindled by technobabble. Politicians who understand it are more likely to make good decisions for our countries future. Manual labor and manufacturing jobs are disappearing, minimum wage and technical jobs are growing (which would you rather have). Researchers develop the knowledge that provides tomorrow's technology and therefore tomorrow's new jobs. The more researchers, the better. That is an issue of both supply and demand. There aren't enough of them AND we aren't trying to allocate enough resources to acquire them. Industry seems to be about a better month end report. STEM is about a better future. Do you want your grandchildren to have good jobs or to live in the largest third world country in the world? Improving STEM is about them, not us! Education and working together fueled the boom of the 50s - 70s. STEM is the education part, for the next boom. We also need to figure out the working together part, or the class divide will tear it apart. But that is a separate piece, not a flaw in STEM. And we are not starting early enough. Middle school is too late. By that time, the hormones and cynicism are kicking in and efforts to get kids interested will meet the "get real" response. We need to get them interested in 3-5 grade. Maybe they won't all become engineers or scientists. In fact, who would want them to. But a policy maker who can see the potential, and knows good science from bad, is every bit as valuable as the next Einstein. And good STEM education will make BOTH of them.

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re: For the love of STEM
Mel007   3/16/2012 9:40:47 PM
Why do we have to push people into science and engineering while law schools and other professions have to set limits to keep their population down? Why is that few engineers stay as hands-on engineers for their full career when lawyers and doctors commonly do so? Clearly this action to promote engineering benefit Government and Industry to supply cheap, disposable engineering labor.

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