STEM/STEAM Day falls on November 8. There’s no way around it: children are significantly better off with solid science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics skills. That’s why STEM and STEAM education programs are so important. It’s undebatable that these subjects push society forward, and these programs help find fun and engaging ways to teach them to students, which is all worth commemorating. So, on November 8, we celebrate STEAM/STEAM Day! To celebrate this day, support the education of students pursuing STEM subjects by learning about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through scholarships offered by institutes worldwide.
History of Stem / Steam Day
Studies in the early 2000s revealed that U.S. students were not achieving in the STEM disciplines at the same rate as students in other countries. The report predicted dire consequences if the government could not compete in the global economy due to a poorly prepared workforce. Thus, educators focused on science, math, and technology research; economic policy; and education. U.S. prosperity seemed to depend on it. A 2006 study later showed that a comparatively large proportion of students underperformed in these subjects and that the country ranked near the bottom on assessments of scientific competency and knowledge.
The international comparisons fueled discussion of U.S. education and workforce needs. The bipartisan congressional STEM Education Caucus noted: “Our knowledge-based economy is driven by constant innovation. The foundation of innovation lies in a dynamic, motivated, and well-educated workforce equipped with STEM skills.”
Further research uncovered the needs of school systems and guided the development of appropriately targeted solutions. The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, a philanthropical organization based in southwestern Pennsylvania, found that U.S. educators were unsure of the implications of STEM, mainly when scientific and technological literacy of all students was the goal. Educators lacked in-depth knowledge of STEM careers and were not prepared to guide students in those fields.
The findings from several studies on educational practices encouraged U.S. state governors to seek methods to lead their states toward graduating every student from high school with essential STEM knowledge and competencies to succeed in postsecondary education and work. Six states received grants from the National Governors Association to pursue helpful strategies.
In the first decade of the 21st century, growth in America’s STEM jobs tripled the growth rate in non-STEM positions. However, racial and gender gaps remained a problem. Employers continued to struggle with the need for qualified STEM workers.
Steam Day Timeline
AP (Advanced Placement) courses
The College Board introduces college-level science courses for advanced high-school students: AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP Physics.
Science vs. religion
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Arkansas can no longer ban the teaching of evolution. This effectively struck down an Arkansas state law.
One giant leap
Apollo 11 carries three U.S. astronauts to the moon, inspiring many to pursue careers in science. Extensive television coverage put this event into America’s living rooms.
Momentum for Physics
The “Physics First” movement began to grow as teachers and scientists pushed to teach physics rather than biology in ninth grade — to allow the more advanced study of biology and chemistry in subsequent years.
A setback for science
Per Scientific American: “A handful of legislators across the country introduce more than a dozen bills that threaten the integrity of science education.” Writer Glenn Branch blames it on a desire to “undermine the teaching of evolution or climate change.”
Steam Day Faqs
What is STEM day?
STEM represents science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics skills. These subjects push society forward, and these educational programs help find fun and engaging ways to teach them to students, which is all worth commemorating.
How do you celebrate STEM day?
Encourage your kids to get curious about math and science activities. Start an effort to raise funds to help science teachers buy supplies.
What are STEAM activities?
They require gathering and using evidence to create knowledge or solve problems. STEAM learning happens naturally daily as children explore, play, and try new things.
Steam Day Activities
Find out which hobbies of yours are rooted in STEM subjects.
Whether it’s astronomy, computer gaming, woodworking, photography, or sudoku, many of your favorite activities have roots in STEAM subjects.
Brush up on your STEM-related skills
If there’s one thing that’s great about living in today’s day and age, it’s our access to information. Hundreds of online courses could help you brush up on your STEAM skills, many of which are offered free of charge by the world’s best institutions, like MIT and Harvard.
Donate to your local STEM programs
Teachers everywhere struggle to stock all the materials they need to teach their classrooms, but you can help. If your child has “outgrown” some of their old supplies — an old calculator, a set of art supplies, or a retired protractor — a local school could probably make good use of it.
Why We Love Steam Day
It promotes essential subject areas.
In the coming decades, automation will play a significant role in shaping the job market. Trucks will all drive themselves, store checkouts will be staff-free, and many typical jobs today will no longer exist. However, it’ll be much longer before automation eliminates most of the jobs that come out of STEAM fields, so promoting these subjects is crucial to a healthy workforce moving forward.
It creates a fun learning environment.
Everyone can remember a math class they struggled through, not because of the material, but because of how it was conveyed. A focal point of STEM and STEAM programs is ensuring that lessons are compelling, relatable, and fun for students.
It strengthens our country.
Countries that emphasize science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics are where innovation happens — plain and simple. Any nation that seeks to be, or to remain, a world leader would be wise to have vital, compelling programs in place that help teach these subjects.