Don’t just teach a kid to fish

Kari Webb says:

If you give a kid a fish, she’ll eat for a day. If you teach a kid to fish, she’ll eat for a lifetime.

But… if you let that kid investigate a local fish population, working alongside regional experts in fish management and the aquatic environment – she may develop a love of STEM which will launch a career in sustainable resource management, with the goal of feeding the whole planet.

I am increasingly convinced that an essential component of STEM education is the inclusion of locally-relevant problem solving. . . [T]his is the hook which will capture the minds and the hearts of our youngest problem solvers. We need to match STEM-mentors with teachers and students, and then encourage everyone to jump into the deeper waters of collaborative, student-centered, problem-based learning.

STEM challenges are real, and real challenges often involve failure, messiness, and unexpected complications (anyone who has ever gone camping knows the truth of this statement). The role of the STEM professional is to help students press through the set-backs, ultimately establishing precisely the sort of tenacity (e.g., grit) that Iowa’s future demands. . .

Iowa should cast the STEM-net in deep water, looking for a catch that includes STEM business partners, non-formal educators, and teachers and learners from just about every discipline.


3 Responses to “Don’t just teach a kid to fish”

  1. We should be empowering students to “…investigate a local fish population, working alongside regional experts…” as students build “tenacity that Iowa’s future demands.”

    STEM is not something we just do, it should be the way. The way we approach learning-real, meaningful, empowering.

  2. STEM is not a program or educational philosophy or a type of pedagogy. It is simply a collection of domains and is used to lobby for resources be diverted to one set of domains over others. STEM robs resources from domains that help students develop creativity, aesthetic awareness, kinesthetic awareness, and linguistic fluency. It also reinforces a monolithic view that the sole purpose of education is to serve economic utility and that that utility isn`t improved by the development of other domains.

  3. I agree with Carl that STEM is just a buzzword, but I’m not sure that it’s diverting funding from anything else. Seems to be just another case of the same old thing with new packaging.

    I’d also recommend looking at the many articles pointing out that the “STEM Crisis” or “STEM Shortage” is a manufactured crisis. From the recent IEEE magazine

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