STEM is not just doing an activity or lesson that involves science, technology, engineering or mathematics. STEM is taking the benefits that come from implementing all four of those content areas into an activity. You are no longer isolating content that is just scientific or mathematical. The synergy of STEM occurs when the core academic content of the nature and process of Science, the application of Technology, the designing qualities of Engineering, and the universal language of Mathematics interacts to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. These effects should increase the STEM literacy for all students to be functional in today’s culture.
So STEM is not just a science lesson where sometimes you use technology as a tool, and make a few mathematical calculations. STEM is beneficial when all of the aspects of STEM work together to solve a problem. This synergy occurs when a scenario housed in the content of science uses the language of mathematics to communicate causation through the application of technologies with the designing principles in engineering.
Versions of STEM lessons have been used by many teachers for numerous years. You may have already experienced some of the classic STEM activities in your own classes, like the mouse trap race car or the egg drop. If so, you recognize the enjoyment of STEM lessons. When teachers forget about isolating facts of science or math and start engaging students through inquiry, there is little need to defend the synergistic appeal of STEM lessons. A well-crafted STEM lesson will require teams to think globally, critically and creatively to provide a solution to an authentic (real-world) situation. When one engages in a true STEM activity, the amount of information gathering, communication with and valuing other team members, problem solving, and thinking “outside of the box” becomes essential in order to be successful. This type of lesson internally motivates to be proficient in the STEM content to become literate in the 21st century.
Camp Infinity will provide STEM lessons for students to experience these synergistic benefits throughout the entire week of camp, which will encourage them to consider a STEM career in their future.