WHAT IS ENGINEERING IN STEM EDUCATION?
Do you know why engineering is important in STEM? It’s a hard question to answer, especially if you’re not familiar with engineering or STEM. To get straight down to the answer without you having to search through all the resources out there, I decided to break it down for you in what I hope to be a helpful post.
What is STEM and ENGINEERING?
STEM is not simply just an abbreviation that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is a path with a wide-ranging educational beginning that limits as we get nearer to a career.
STEM education is a style of teaching and learning through practical projects that involve relating all of its subjects to build real-world skills. Because the STEM model teaches in an inclusive way, students develop a foundation of skills required in an increasingly vibrant labor market fueled by innovation.
STEM is an integrated approach to learning. Engineering is what connects the disciplines. Engineers seek solutions to problems then apply scientific knowledge and mathematics to design, build, and sustain technologies to solve the problems.
How is engineering important in stem education?
If STEM was a body, engineering would be its heart. In our bodies, blood goes into the heart then gets pumped out to reach essential organs. In STEM, scientific data goes into the engineering process where it gets calculated out to become technology.
This metaphor is more powerful at the educational phase of STEM. As pointed out earlier, STEM education combines the disciplines to form a base for a future career. Classroom STEM projects often include using scientific data to mathematically design something that solves a problem.
The engineering component of STEM education puts emphasis on the process and design of solutions, instead of the solutions themselves. This approach allows students to explore mathematics and science in a more personalized perspective, while helping them to develop the critical thinking skills that can be applied to all aspects of their work. Engineering is the method that students apply for discovery, exploration, and problem-solving
The engineering design process (EDP) provides an organized method for solving complex problems that require some type of innovation. This process involves a set of steps that go from defining a problem to creating and developing a final solution. The “E” in STEM is a key difference between traditional science and math lessons and STEM lessons.
STEM Engineering Process
- Ask what the problem is
- Imagine and plan a solution
- Create the model
- Test the model
- Redesign the model with improvements
- Repeat the process if needed
Importance Of Engineering In Stem Jobs
We have determined that engineering is very important to STEM education. Knowing that STEM jobs narrow down to a particular field, does engineering still hold on to that same importance at this more focused point of the STEM path?
The short answer is no but it varies with the increasingly large number of STEM jobs and it depends on how you look at it. A scientist’s job may require some engineering to help find further data but it would be a small part concerning their main focus. The same goes for mathematicians.
If you look at the results of their jobs, the importance of engineering may be higher than the rest of the fields. A scientist may be needed to gather trustworthy data used by an engineer to create new technology.
It is obvious that engineering is important to an engineering job but if we flip it around and ask how STEM is important in engineering jobs, the degree of importance may vary even more due to the number of different types of engineering jobs. Sound engineers may require less scientific data and little math while biomedical engineers require more scientific data and significantly higher levels of math.
Stem Engineering Careers
- Aerospace Engineering
- Agricultural Engineering
- Automotive Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Engineering
- Marine Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Software Engineering
By its nature, engineering can be seen as the bridge that connects STEM. Without some form of engineering, there would be no technology so science would just be science and math would still just be math.