A good place to start in your local school is with science or math teachers. Ask if the school has any STEM-focused curriculum or specific teacher training. How much time do the students spend each week on science? What kind of classroom resources and materials are available. Are on-line STEM education resources available? Are they used?
Next you should speak with the school principal or administrator. Ask what the school’s position on STEM subjects is. Ask what is being done to ensure that quality STEM instruction is available. Ask how much professional development time and money is spent on STEM subjects. Ask what the principal’s own opinion is about STEM subjects and the importance of an emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. The answers to all of these questions will indicate how important STEM education is in your school.
Your role in advocating quality STEM education in your school may be a simple as highlighting where you believe the school falls short of the needs of 21st century skills. However, volunteering in the classroom as a STEM support person can put some of your thoughts and ideas into practice in a classroom setting. You can talk to the principal, a science or math teacher, or look for a connection through the Indianapolis US2020 project. You can also volunteer in out-of-school activities such as robotics clubs, Girl Scouts, coding camps and any number of similar activities.