Green STEM: An Educational Collision of Epic Proportion
Our climate is changing at an alarming rate, and as a nation our young people are not prepared to provide the solutions necessary to mitigate and safeguard our world’s biodiversity, growing population, agricultural and transit systems and more. In a digital age, we are able to connect in new and innovative ways and collaborate and create like never before.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Green STEM Initiative is the result of a magnificent collision between environment-based education and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics); creating a new system that will provide a national workforce that’s ripe with skilled, knowledgeable, innovative, and technologically savvy citizens.
To prepare our young people for a future that’s vividly different and uncertain, America needs to remedy what is often described as the “leaking” STEM pipeline.
Educators are looking for real answers. Green STEM is a practical way, through disciplined instruction and experiential work on environmental and sustainability subjects, to help students better understand and be given relevant opportunities to inquire, assess, design, build and foster innovative solutions to environmental challenges and related technological needs. Students who are exposed to programs that incorporate useful STEM education see the world in a holistic way, gain skills in the process of inquiry, become better problem-solvers and inventors who can utilize their knowledge of math, science and technology to design and engineer innovative solutions to serious problems. NWF’s Eco-Schools USA is primed and ready to help teachers facilitate learning experiences in Green STEM throughout K-12 as they engage students in greening solutions by addressing the building’s needs inside and out.
Nearly 4 in 5 STEM college students say that they decided to study STEM in high school or earlier…almost 20 percent knew before they even entered high school. Microsoft Corporation
In order to help move students more smoothly through the STEM pipeline the highly anticipated, debated, and newly released Next Generation Science Standards have been developed to prepare our students for a better future, a future where they can be scientifically literate, competitive, and successful. Educators will find many welcomed changes:
- K-12 Science Education Should Reflect the Interconnected Nature of Science as it is Practiced in the Real World.
- The Science Concepts in the NGSS Build Coherently from K-12.
- The NGSS Focus on Deeper Understanding of Content as well as Application of Content.
- Science and Engineering are integrated in the NGSS, from K-12.
- The NGSS are designed to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship.