Spring 2017 Impact

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12 Early STEM Support: Engineering a Strong Foundation for Development Tamara Spiewak Toub, Ph.D.; Brenna Hassinger-Das, Ph.D.; Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D. and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D. Educators, parents, and policymakers are turning more and more attention to STEM learning. is heightened emphasis is well-deserved: we live in an increasingly global community, with expanding knowledge bases and technologies that enable us to explore everything from tiny molecules to the expanses of outer space. Given such opportunities (and the challenges they raise), our society needs experts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – the STEM disciplines. ere is a critical need for our children to develop STEM skills to compete in the modern-day workforce. As today's computers can do many of the tasks that used to require human labor, we need to ensure that our children can take up the work of thinking, inventing, and problem solving that cannot be accomplished by computers. Even individuals outside of formal STEM careers utilize STEM skills in everyday life. We mentally compare the sizes and prices of the astonishingly large variety of options in the cereal aisle, and we use measurements and a pinch of chemistry when we cook. Understanding the relation between cause and effect is inherent in much of what we do in both the physical and social worlds. So, our education efforts must incorporate an emphasis on STEM. is emphasis has been reflected in established standards, such as the Common Core (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2010), Next Generation Tamara Spiewak Toub is a Postdoctoral Research Area Expert at Temple University. Brenna Hassinger-Das is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Temple University.

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