Students learn best when they are actually doing things — not just reading or listening to someone talk.
Students engage the most when they can solve problems and find solutions.
Students relate to the real world.
Guided by these simple ideas, the NeoSTEM Ecosystem has launched a discussion of how to create meaningful connections between classroom lessons and real-world STEM opportunities.
The discussion began during the regular July meeting of the NeoSTEM Ecosystem and because there was so much interest, several Ecosystem stakeholders suggested that a working group form to continue the conversation and begin crafting actual plans. The first working group meeting is at 1 p.m. on Monday, July 12.
Guided by Cleveland Metropolitan School District leaders, stakeholders from business and industry, out-of-school time organizations and others are designing ways to better connect educators’ classroom instruction with real-world career opportunities.
Kirsten Mahovlich, CMSD’s curriculum and institution content manager for grades seven through 12, introduced Career Connections, a joint initiative of Ohio’s Office of Workforce Transformation, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and the Ohio Department of Education. The goal of the initiative is to give students of all ages opportunities to discover their interests and talents, explore careers, and make plans for their futures.
“We are hoping to identify jobs and careers that are aligned to specific academic content,” Mahovlich said.
“We’d also like to be able to provide information and resources for both teachers and students about those careers, including hands-on and real-world experiences, internships, externships, and guest speakers. The sky’s the limit.”
To that end, NeoSTEM leaders began to identify the various STEM careers, both “traditional” and “non-traditional,” that align to academics. Food service industries, for example, support a host of STEM jobs. This work was launched by CMSD but is open to any interested school district and the plans that are developed will be freely shared.
“You’ve got the people who figure out what portions of ingredients go into a product and how much of it to order,” said Sarah Dunifon, founder of Improved Insights, a Cleveland-based consulting firm. “There’s math in that. There are chemists who actually look at food science. You’ve got the dieticians who calculate what it means for human consumption. You can find STEM in pretty much any company if you’re willing to look hard enough.”
NeoSTEM meets on the first Tuesday of every month, with the next meeting on Tuesday, August 3, at 4 p.m.
For more information, contact Dr. Alyssa Lenhoff-Briggs at firstname.lastname@example.org.