STEM, field trips, mentors
Being an educator in the twenty-first century is exciting, stimulating, fun, challenging, and dynamic - with a great emphasis on the challenging and dynamic. The scope and depth of the materials we teach, or can teach, to our students is overwhelming and increasing exponentially every year. The list of challenges for science educators is formidable. We have found that one logical piece of the puzzle to help address these challenges is for educators to invite practicing and real-world researchers, engineers, doctors, business owners, and other STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) professionals into the classroom, or take students on field trips to businesses and industries. These scientists in the classroom do not come as mere guest speakers, as an add-on or afterthought, and are not meant to be an interesting diversion from the normal schedule and curriculum. Quite the opposite, the explicit purpose for their presence is to assist and support the teacher, and to present, teach, and discuss discrete, focused, and curriculum-related lessons and topics.
Schielke, K., Schmidt, K., and Judith A. Scheppler. 2014. Scientists in the Classroom. ISTA Spectrum. 40(1):19-23.