K–12 STEM education is the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, including cross-curricular and/or integrative study, and the application of those subjects in real-world contexts. As students engage in STEM education, they develop transferable skills that they need to meet the demands of today’s global economy and society.
STEM education helps students develop an understanding and appreciation of each of the core subjects of mathematics, science, and technological education. At the same time, it supports a more holistic understanding and application of skills and knowledge related to engineering design and innovation. STEM learning integrates and applies concepts, processes, and ways of thinking associated with these subjects to design solutions to real-world problems.
Engineering design and innovation engages students in applying the principles of science, technology, and mathematics to develop economical and sustainable solutions to technical and complex societal problems to meet human needs.
Among the transferable skills developed through STEM education are computational thinking, coding, design thinking, innovating, use of the scientific method, scientific inquiry skills, and engineering design skills. These skills are in high demand in today’s globally connected world, with its unprecedented advancements in technology.
Approaches to STEM education may vary across Ontario schools. STEM subjects may be taught separately, but with an effort to make cross-curricular connections a part of student learning. Problem-solving application projects may be designed to combine two or more STEM subjects. Alternatively, content from all four STEM subjects might be fully integrated to reinforce students' understanding of each subject, by enhancing their understanding of the interrelationships among them, and by providing the opportunity to apply a spectrum of knowledge and skills in novel ways in real-world contexts. As STEM education is implemented, it is important to engage diverse perspectives and ways of thinking. including those inherent in the arts and humanities. Diverse perspectives engage students in a variety of creative and critical thinking processes that are essential for developing innovative and effective solutions that impact communities or ecosystems.
A robust K–12 STEM education enables Ontario educators and students to become innovators and leaders of change in society and the workforce, and creates opportunities in our diverse communities to foster integrative thinking and problem solving.