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K-5 schools in the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul are embracing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs to prepare students for the jobs of the future.
The Richfield STEM School are embedding engineering lessons into every subject – from learning about structural mechanics after a lesson on the recent Japan earthquake to taking apart tools after studying Native American history.
The school is infused with science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. It opened last fall and celebrated last week the fact that it now has 21 teachers who are STEM-certified.
It’s one of about 40 STEM programs and schools across Minnesota. The STEM initiatives are spreading nationwide, spurred by an increased emphasis on science and math and pressure to fill a job market void with future engineers and science-savvy students.
Ten years ago, engineer Yvonne Ng said she and her peers laughed at the possibility of engineering being taught in elementary schools.
“Now here it is,” said Ng, an assistant professor at St. Catherine University, which trained Richfield staff.