The value of emphasizing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) is essential since it impacts just about every facet of our lives - checking the news on your mobile phone, using video conferencing software to facilitate meetings, or programming our home alarm systems are all everyday activities influenced by STEM innovations. When we can make connections between topics being learned and our own lives, the learning tends to stick in our minds longer. It seems reasonable then that the study of robotics is integrated into STEM education programs since robotics influences many areas of life – construction, defense, health, maintenance, security, and more. Of course, robotics also allows for learning beyond our general experiences such as space exploration.
Neil Armstrong and landing on the moon. The space shuttle Challenger. The International Space Station. Pictures of ice from the Mars rovers. These are the different things that come to my mind when thinking of space exploration and education. These are topics that have probably been discussed, researched, and studied in classrooms everywhere. But how often is space exploration a part of student learning?
This pandemic isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Schools are working towards creating an environment where students can learn at home by equipping them with the necessary technology to make the “virtual classroom” a reality. Unfortunately, STEM learning doesn’t appear to be a focus and it needs to be.