How does Massachusetts approach STEM education?

Beyond the Microscope Blog Post | March 4, 2021

By Michaela Goss

Massachusetts aims to fulfill two key goals for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education: ensure students can actively engage in data analysis and ensure they can relate what they learn in the classroom to life outside the classroom.

The Massachusetts Department of Education’s (DOE’s) website lays out the state’s standards-based academic vision for what students learn in school. It also discusses how the state’s focus on STEM education derives from the role of Massachusetts as a growing hub for STEM careers – particularly, in technology and engineering. Massachusetts appears ready to build a pipeline of students from the state’s schools into full-fledged STEM careers after graduation.

The foundation for this pipeline starts in elementary education. In elementary schools, the goal is to spark interest in STEM that can lead to a lifelong love of the subjects and a future STEM career, which have some of the highest paying entry level positions. Schools rise to meet this goal by involving students in content-based learning, as well as applied learning.

Applied learning enables students to apply concepts they learn in the classroom to projects or situations either relevant to their lives or to help them visualize the concepts they are taught. Videos on the DOE’s website showcase students building, working together to complete science experiments and learning math as it applies to real-world issues – rather than simply numbers on a page.

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