Our ever-evolving digital society has challenged our education system to adapt to supporting students so they can thrive in the 4th industrial revolution. The Ontario Ministry of Education has recently made significant changes to both the Elementary Math curriculum (implemented in fall 2020) and the Elementary Science and Technology curriculum (to be implemented in fall 2022).
The revised curriculums are part of Ontario’s plan to modernize the education system to ensure all students have the foundational and transferable skills they need in a rapidly changing world. The focus of these changes is being reflected through a greater emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning. As an educational organization focused on STEM, these curriculum updates are very relevant to the work we do with our students and we are excited to highlight the parallels between the new curriculum and what we have already implemented at STEM Minds.
A major advancement in the new STEM curriculum is focused on building connections between the content learned in the classroom and real-world issues in our current society and environment. Youth will critically analyze the role that technology can play in both helping and harming individuals and communities and commit themselves to use technology as a way to improve the world around them. At STEM Minds, our programs put an emphasis on forming these real-life connections in many ways.
For instance, many challenges and assignments throughout our programs are inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which focuses on creating solutions to combat global inequality and ensure a better future for all. An example of this could be using 3D design to design the homes of the future in alignment with the Sustainable Cities and Communities goal or designing an app to promote sustainable clothing companies as part of the Responsible Consumption and Production goal.
These kinds of learning experiences also address the engineering design process that is newly emphasized in the Science & Technology curriculum and will provide students with opportunities to design and build innovative solutions to these local and global problems. All of these tasks involve hands-on, experiential learning to spark creativity and innovation. Making these real-life connections from the classroom to the broader world will be highly beneficial in increasing career skills. The critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills that students build from these connections will promote flexibility and adaptability as the jobs of the future are currently unknown.
In the older curriculum models, a focus on building STEM confidence is implied. However, in the updated curriculum, there will be tools and strategies to help students develop confidence, cope with challenges and think critically.
Our motto at STEM Minds, “Fearless Learning”, embraces the idea that we learn through making mistakes. STEM learning should inspire students to approach problems with a sense of curiosity and without fear of “failure”. With STEM learning, students will be able to develop the core skills of resiliency, adaptability, and agility that will help grow their interest in the field. Furthermore, through the positive and supportive relationships with teachers and with their peers, students will feel encouraged to try new things and find fulfilment from the learning experience.
We recognize that there continues to be a wide disparity in gender, race, and learners with disabilities representation in the world of STEM. The updated Science & Technology curriculum emphasizes both an understanding of the practical applications of STEM as well as exploring contributions to STEM from people with diverse lived experiences. At STEM Minds we have always strived to ensure that all students are learning in an environment that promotes healthy and inclusive development for all and actively promotes the idea that everyone belongs in the world of STEM.
As a woman-owned and majority women-led business, a key focus at STEM Minds is supporting more girls and women in exploring the world of STEM. Our positive female role models and female representation among our team prove to other young girls that they can also pursue a career in STEM. We offer all students a wide range of STEM programs across many different areas in order to allow youth to explore and begin to develop a STEM identity, which research demonstrates an important factor that helps lead young women toward a STEM career in the future. Additionally, we approach STEM teaching and learning with a focus on how STEM can be used to help others as well as using teaching strategies that are focused on collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving to have a higher engagement rate for our students.
Introduction to Coding
With the exponential growth of technology in our society, it is important that youth are building digital skills and literacy from a young age. A fantastic highlight in the new Science & Technology and Mathematics curricula is the explicit inclusion of coding throughout the elementary grades to improve problem-solving and develop fluency with technology as well as explore the practical applications of coding across many fields.
At STEM Minds we have always prioritized a wide range of technology based programs, including coding. Whether it’s introductory level programming languages like Scratch to industry-standard programming languages such as Python, Java, and C++, we offer a full continuum of learning to support youth of all ages.
However, coding is not the only technology that is important! That is why STEM Minds offers a range of courses in topics such as robotics, video game design, digital art and media, artificial intelligence, and so much more! The variety of courses that students can choose from will not only advance their technology skills and support their in-school learning, but will help them discover their passions in the field of STEM. Our programs are offered both in person and online in order to provide accessibility to all around the globe.See a Full List of Our Courses
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