From STEM to ST2REAM
Reassembling our disaggregated curriculum
Countless millennia before the acronym STEM—for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—entered our modern lexicon, early man was already engaged in STEM endeavors. Our ancestors spent significant portions of their days experimenting, tinkering, and thinking their way through myriad problems and challenges. During those prehistoric periods, the dreamers, the designers, and the builders identified the urgent problems, and subsequently crafted tools, crude instruments, and strategies to resolve them, working collaboratively for both survival and human progress.
Columbus' historic trans-Atlantic journey in 1492 was driven as much by innovation as it was by exploration. Fifteenth-century art, design, engineering, and innovative technologies made his expedition achievable. Once the highly maneuverable caravel sailing ships were invented, the travel time between continents was cut in half. Caravels were smaller, faster, and easier to navigate than other large vessels of that time. The mariner's compass and astrolabes made long-range voyages fast and feasible. Cartography, map-printing accuracy, and European printing techniques had taken a quantum leap forward courtesy of Johannes Gutenberg. Advances in mathematical procedures for estimating the earth's circumference gave greater precision to calculating global distances.
The European discovery of the New World constituted a prime example of the real-world synergies among science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. However, Columbus' impressive voyage has been academically quarantined to social studies, rather than viewed through a transdisciplinary lens...
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- Superintendent of Schools
- Orleans Parish School District, New Orleans, LA
- Senior Content and Curriculum Leader
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