Anyone dictating a one-stop solution is trying to sell you something from a catalog. Beware the sales spiel you will receive from companies and nonprofits pushing STEM programs and curriculum. Including mine. I'm not scared.) Take a look at a short list of criteria that we use to evaluate aSTEM program's
Yes, I do recommend programs, professional development, and products to clients, parents, and teachers. I just don't limit myself to a set mix. I don't even limit myself to recommending personal favorites. Every school benefits from a variety of solutions.
Curriculum and programs should bring teachers from all common core subjects together in an integrated effort. Programs in the CTE department collaborate with teachers in the math department, technology classrooms, and science labs to reach a greater number of students. While programs like PLTW (Project Lead the Way) and the various strong robotics programs offer a solid platform, they are not able to meet the needs of most of the school's students. These programs are usually limited to the CTE, after school, and gifted programs. In other words, you're grabbing the attention of the kids already interested in STEM futures.
What do we do to capture the attention of other groups in the school? We talk a lot about multiple representations in various subjects, so why do we rely on a single STEM program to "do it all" for the entire student population? To deliver a message that reaches more than the white male population, a program will need multiple options. AND I DON'T mean giving girls lesser programs like designing clothes on computer screens.
Take a look at the Change the Equation STEMworks Database of strong programs. Be advised that not all are STEM programs. Many are listed as fantastic math or science or STE without the M. Consider a mix of options across multiple classrooms including core subjects and art. Don't assume that you need a ton of materials or expensive machinery. Some of the strongest platforms are built on fantastic professional development, because in the end ANY investigation could become a "STEMvestigation" with a little background knowledge and teachers that work together to solve the problem. And, yes, I do offer professional development, and I do have a catalog. I just don't assume that the ones I offer will meet the needs of EVERY student or teacher. It's why I choose to deal with public-private partnerships and meld with existing programs in the schools. You know what might solve this STEM professional crisis we are facing? Start working together instead of worrying so much about sales.
Here are a few links to help with the search.
Change the Equation
Ten80 Education (Disclaimer: I co-developed quite a few of these.)
Girls Who Code
Welcome to the world of TinkerMaker Toys and the awesome kids that make this store my "happy place." The little wolf is my daughter and walking, talking, laughing pilot project. She's quite a bit bigger now and very opinionated. Check out her art projects HERE.